Sara-Digong tandem emerges as top bets for 2020 election – poll

President Rodrigo Duterte with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio | Malacañang photo

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, came out as the top bets for 2022 vice president and president, respectively, in a pre-election survey conducted in Visayas and Mindanao (VisMin).

The independent and non-commissioned survey entitled “Pahayag VisMin 2019,” conducted from November 15 to 19, revealed that Duterte-Carpio ranked first in the list with 35 percent of the votes from  2,000 registered Visayas and Mindanao voters.

Sen. Grace Poe followed her with 11 percent. The third to fifth candidates were Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Domagoso with 7.8 percent, Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao with 5.5 percent, and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano with 4.6 percent.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive placed first among 21 candidates for the vice presidential race. He garnered 11.6 percent of votes.

Following him was Duterte-Carpio with 11.5 percent, Domagoso with 9.85 percent, Poe with 9.05 percent, Cayetano with 8.85 percent, and Pacquiao with 7.25.

The survey was released by political consultancy firm PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. (PAI), while data was processed by VOX Opinion Research.

According to PAI Executive Director and firm spokesman Aureli Sinsuat, the poll results showed that the Duterte brand could be stronger in Mindanao and the Visayas than what was originally expected, noting that Duterte-Carpio amassed 54.1 percent of the Mindanao votes.

“Mindanaoan voters catapulted President Duterte to the presidency in 2016. This goes to show that a united Mindanao voting bloc is a force to be reckoned with in the 2022 elections,” he said.

However, Sinsuat had doubts about Duterte running for president again.

“The president has been vocal about his intention to retire from national politics and get some rest after his term ends in 2022. I doubt he would actively pursue six more years of stress as the second-highest official in the land,” he said.

“Nevertheless, we cannot completely discount the possibility of the president’s loyal and persistent supporters attempting to persuade him to stick around after 2022. The numbers from the Pahayag VisMin survey make it plausible that we might see the same sort of grassroots ’Draft Duterte’ movement we saw in 2016, a second time around,” he added.

Sinsuat also noted that Mindanaoan respondents were likely to vote Poe for president if she ran.

“It appears that Senator Poe still has one of the strongest national brands of any politician today. We have to remember that if President Duterte didn’t seemingly come out of nowhere to take the presidential election by storm in 2016, Senator Poe might very well have been elected president instead,” he said.

“Her brand is still presidential in the eyes of many, even for those who live outside her traditional power base in Luzon. She seems to be in a good position to make another run for Malacañang in 2022, if that is what she desires,” he added.

Malacañang is not discounting the results of the survey, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed.

“I’m not surprised. That has been done before in the City of Davao and both of them ran as mayor and vice mayor,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the older Duterte “is not prohibited from running as vice president.”

“Whether he wants to run again, that’s his call. But that has been the emerging idea among people, that there should be a Duterte-Duterte tandem in the next presidential elections,” he added.

Asked if the president was aware of the public clamor for him to run again, Panelo said, “I told him last night and he smiled.”

“If we speak of possibilities, then it’s limitless,” the Palace official said, when asked if the president would heed the people’s call.

But Panelo also said that election “is very far from” the president’s mind, as he still wanted to fulfill his constitutional mandate.

The 74-year-old Duterte has frequently threatened to step down before the end of his six-year term, promising to quit if he was unable to solve issues such as corruption and the illegal drug trade.

The president has denied claims that a push to introduce federalism is prompted by a desire to stay in power, and also told the military and the police to seize power if they deemed him no longer capable of leading the nation. 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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