The Straits Time : Philippine presidential race: Who are the contenders for the top job?

News & Interviews
1 October 2021

By Raul Dancel | The Straits Time

MANILA - A week-long registration for election opened in the Philippines on Friday (Oct 1), which will end months of speculation over who will vie to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte when his term ends next year.

For now, all eyes are on these five people:

Ms Sara Duterte-Carpio
The 43-year-old Davao city mayor is the chosen political heir of Mr Duterte. She and her father have been swopping control of Davao as either mayor or vice-mayor since 2007.

Like her father, she styles herself as a populist, opting to be called "Inday", a way of letting everyone know that while she comes from a privileged, powerful family, she is essentially a provincial lass with roots planted firmly in the mean streets of her city.

She also has a mean streak. She once punched a court sheriff in the face four times for refusing her request to stop evicting a community of squatters.

Ms Duterte-Carpio has publicly quarrelled with her father. In 2016, she confessed to having been raped when she was much younger amid a torrent of rape jokes her father had made. Mr Duterte brushed off the revelation, and called her a "drama queen".

She is a formidable politician in her own right. She successfully steered a loose coalition of seven political parties allied with her father to a landslide victory in the closely watched Senate race in 2019.

Ms Duterte-Carpio remains the odds-on favourite to win if elections are held today, but she has been playing coy about her plans.

She has said she will not run if her father insists on gunning for the vice-presidency. But pundits say that may just be a ploy to appeal to Filipinos' penchant for backing a reluctant candidate.