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WAITING GAME | Sara pulls out of the mayoral race; VM Baste to substitute for sister’s candidacy

Mayor Sara Duterte
Photo credit: Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Official Facebook Page

MAYOR Sara Duterte withdrew her bid for reelection yesterday afternoon at the Comelec office in Magsaysay Park, hours after her brother, Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte, also formally dropped his candidacy for the city’s second-highest post. 

The vice mayor will substitute for his sister and go head-to-head with former third district representative Ruy Elias Lopez. Lopez, a veteran lawmaker and the son of the first city mayor, Elias Baguio Lopez, was the only one with the financial and political mettle to pose a serious challenge to the Dutertes in Davao City. The two other candidates for mayor are Teodoro Pena Mantilla and Joseph Hannibal Cervantes.

The vice mayor withdrew his candidacy at around 10:30 am, only to return around 3:10 pm to file his candidacy for mayor.

The move only bolstered speculations that Mayor Duterte would join the vice presidential race.  

In a statement posted on her Facebook page, the local chief executive said:

Ngayong hapon wini-withdraw ko ang akong kandidatura sa pagka-Mayor ng Davao City. Si VM Baste ang papalit sa akin. Si Atty. Melchor Quitain ang nominado namin sa pagka-Bise Alkalde. Ito lamang po muna (This afternoon, i am withdrawing my candidacy for mayor of Davao City. VM Baste will replace me and we nominate Atty. Melchor Quitian for vice mayor. This is it for now).”

In withdrawing his candidacy, the vice mayor said that, like a good soldier, he is only following the direction of the party. 

Kung unsa man, let’s be positive na maayo unta ang outcome ning desisyon ni Inday na mag withdraw ko. Something good might come out of it,” he said, In an exclusive interview with TIMES. “For now, I cannot really say kung asa ko padulong.” 

He said that as a member of the Hugpong and Hugpong ng Pagbabago, it is his duty to follow the direction of both parties. 

“In order for both parties to function, I have to follow the order,” he said,

Mayor Duterte is rumored to gun for the vice presidency as substitute for Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, the frontrunner in the surveys. 

The mayor is seen to tandem with presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand “BongBong” Marcos Jr. Earlier, the presidential daughter already insisted that she had no plans of running for the highest office. 

In an official statement, the younger Duterte said that he is nominating Atty. Jay Melchor Quitain, the current council majority floor leader, to be the substitute candidate. Quitain also filed his candidacy an hour after the vice mayor withdraw his documents from the Comelec office. 

“I am deeply grateful to the Dabawenyos for the support they have given me all this time. I have no other details to share at the moment,” the vice mayor said.

“I am here as the floor leader of the council, I am here to support,” Qutain told TIMES.

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