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Sara Duterte eyes House seat, not Senate

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has shot down rumors of her gunning for one of the 12 Senate seats up for contest in the midterm elections, saying she has her eyes set on the congressional post to be vacated by Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles.

“I do not have plans of running [for] a national post in the 2019 elections. But I have plans of running in the first congressional district of Davao City,” said Duterte-Carpio, President Duterte’s eldest daughter, on the sidelines of the launch of the multisectoral group Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines on Monday.

Duterte-Carpio said if she would run for the Senate, she would not announce her candidacy this early in the game. But for now, she said it was not even a possibility.

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Before Mr. Duterte threw his hat in the presidential race, he also vehemently denied interest in the position. He even waited until the last day of the filing of a substitute presidential candidate before finally deciding to run for the country’s highest office.

Last month, Mr. Duterte toyed with the idea of his daughter succeeding him once he steps down in 2022.

He spoke highly of his daughter—a lawyer and a mother of three—who took over the reins of Davao City from him after he had ruled it for almost two decades.

Switching places

Duterte-Carpio was vice mayor of Davao City from 2007 to 2010 before she switched places with her father, who was then mayor. For the next three years, she served as the city’s mayor—the first woman and the youngest to be elected in the city.

In recent weeks, Duterte-Carpio has taken a more visible role in defending her father from critics accusing him not only of corruption but also of encouraging a climate of impunity following the deaths of thousands of suspected drug users and peddlers in the administration’s war against illegal drugs.

Duterte-Carpio said she organized the Tapang at Malasakit group without her father’s knowledge. She said the group was meant to gather support from the public “to unite and work together for the country’s development.”

Sara Duterte-Carpio—EDWIN BACASMAS

Sara Duterte-Carpio—EDWIN BACASMAS

She denied that the group was a political vehicle for her run, saying, “I do not need those from Luzon for my candidacy in Davao.”

Davao’s first congressional district was once occupied by Mr. Duterte in his first and only run for the House of Representatives in 1998. Since 1995, it has been occupied by the Nograles father and son.

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Recently, former House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. patched things up with Mr. Duterte, whom he has long criticized. The elder Nograles lost to Duterte-Carpio in the 2010 mayoralty race.

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