Sara the last candidate
By Al S. Mendoza
THE nation awaits the coming of the last candidate with bated breath.
Who might that be?
Sara Duterte, the current mayor of Davao City.
A bit of trivia: Davao is the world’s largest city, where it is also home to the world’s only monkey-eating eagle.
The president’s daughter famously known to have a mind of her own, Sara, also a lawyer like her father, has filed her certificate of candidacy for mayor of Davao City.
“I wish to complete my nine-year tenure as Davao City mayor,” Sara said.
But no one is buying that.
It didn’t douse cold water to widespread talk that she’d change her mind at the last minute.
Before declaring her mayoralty reelection bid a third and final time, Sara was widely believed to gun for the presidency.
The speculations grew when surveys kept showing Sara was leading the pack of presidential hopefuls.
Streamers were sprouting like mushrooms in urban centers nationwide, emblazoned with “Run Sara Run” slogans.
In fairness, though, Sara had kept denying it even amid noisy, passionate, calls for her to aspire for the No. 1 post of the land.
Now, how explain the fact that Bato dela Rosa suddenly filed his certificate of candidate for president at the eleventh hour?
The incumbent senator, a diehard follower of President Duterte from the “mayor days” yet in Davao of Mr. Duterte, was so honest enough as to say he was asked by top party officials to run for president only two hours before the filing of deadline on October 8.
“I will admit I was surprised when I got the call and I was told to run for president,” Bato said. “But being a team man that I have always been, I had to say yes.”
That opened the floodgates for rumors to fly in wild abandon.
Bato ran, only to be substituted later by Sara.
As I said here the last time out, we have three deadlines for filing our certificates of candidacy: October 8 and November 15, 2021; and, May 9, 2022.
The second deadline on Nov. 15 specifically sets the substitution of a withdrawing candidate.
That was the route taken by Rodrigo Roa Duterte when he subbed Martin Dino at the last minute en route to winning the presidency in 2016.
On a candidate availing of the third deadline—on midday of May 9, 2022—he can only qualify if he is substituting either a disqualified candidate or a candidate who had died.
Likewise, both the candidate being substituted and the substituting candidate must bear the same surname.
But Sara—granting she’d run as widely believed—would, must, do it on Nov. 15, reprising the dramatic impact her dad had authored six years ago.
Bato, with all due respect, lacks the stature to trade swords with high-strung presidential aspirants, like Ping Lacson and Leni Robredo, among others.
Only when Sara is in the mix, will we see the circus finally have its curtain call.
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