(Al Jazeera) The daughter of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has filed her candidacy for the vice presidency, her spokeswoman said, ending months of speculation about her 2022 election plans.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, 43, entered the vice presidential race by way of substitution after her political party’s original candidate withdrew, her spokeswoman, Mayor Christina Garcia- Frasco said in a statement on Saturday.
“This is to confirm that Mayor Inday Sara Duterte through her representative, has filed her Certificate of Candidacy for Vice President under Lakas-CMD [party],” she said on Facebook.
Shortly after her candidacy papers were filed by a representative, the political party of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son and namesake of the late Philippine strongman who has registered to run for president, adopted Duterte-Carpio as its vice-presidential choice.
Garcia-Frasco said Duterte-Carpio would be releasing a statement shortly.
Duterte-Carpio’s decision to seek the country’s number two job came as a surprise as she has led opinion polls throughout this year as the preferred presidential candidate.
“It was a surprise,” Antonio La Vina, professor of law and politics at the Ateneo de Manila University told the Reuters news agency.
“Next surprise is VP for whom.”
In the Philippines, the president is elected separately from the vice president.
Duterte-Carpio’s 76-year-old father is barred by the constitution from seeking a second six-year term and is facing an investigation by the International Criminal Court into his deadly so-called war on drugs. He said last month he was retiring from politics.
The Southeast Asian nation of 110 million people holds elections in May 2022 for positions from president down to governors, mayors and local officials.
Sara’s decision to run for vice president leaves Marcos Jr in a strong position for the presidency.
Popularly known as Bongbong, Marcos Jr has been in the second spot in voter surveys.
There was speculation Sara had sought to persuade Marcos Jr to slide back into the vice presidential race and create a formidable alliance between the two clans.
The Marcos family stronghold stretches across the country’s north and centre, while the Dutertes enjoy widespread support in the south.
Marcos Jr, who was at a wedding on Thursday and was seen walking arm-in-arm with Sara, told reporters: “I will continue with my plan. I entered this race to run for president.”
“[Sara] Duterte running for the vice presidency … more or less seals Bongbong Marcos’ position as the top contender, the candidate to beat in these elections,” political analyst Richard Heydarian told the AFP news agency.
Apart from Marcos, other presidential aspirants in next year’s polls include former boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, Vice President Leni Robredo, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, senator Panfilo Lacson, and Duterte’s former police chief Ronald dela Rosa.