Sara Duterte for President: More than Her Father’s Daughter?

Sara Duterte for President? Let’s discuss.

Cacao Culture

Although the 2022 elections are still many months away, people have already started to talk about Rodrigo Duterte’s successor. On social media, people’s sentiments are out in the open, and campaign pages have been created for the ones people are clamoring for. One of the most popular ones is none other than presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Inday Sara” as she’s fondly called, is current Mayor of Davao City. Like her father, she seems to be a social media favorite. Even presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo was quoted to have expressed support for Inday Sara. “I will not be surprised if she becomes president of this country after her father,” said Panelo. He acknowledged that people see in her “the character of the father. She’s very competent, smart, and fierce.”

Could another woman President be in the Philippines’ future? Would it be a good idea for another Duterte to run? And how ready would Inday Sara be to face her challenges if she wins?

Continuing the Duterte Legacy

While “Sara Duterte for President” sounds good to many now, it serves well to remind everyone that Inday Sara has only a few years under her belt as Davao Mayor. With that said, she is no doubt well-loved by her constituents, much like her father was. Remember how Rody’s supporters clamored then? We sure do.


Sara has a tough-talking, no-nonsense character, which has become a hallmark of the Dutertes. However, she remains very different from her father. She’s certainly got her own personality, her own mind about things. Even her background is very different from Rody. Sara first started public service working with several NGOs, which is the foundation of her endearment to the Dabawenyos. She has been known to champion progressive laws and ordinances, including the landmark Davao ordinance on anti-discrimination.

For most outside Davao, Inday Sara first surfaced into the limelight of national politics back in 2011. She punched a court sheriff for insisting on demolishing houses on contested property. This was despite her asking to delay the demolition because she knew it could get bloody. She then immediately talked to the residents to discuss possible relocation. This made headlines across the country. It was her self-introduction that she was her father’s daughter.

In recent years, Sara seems to have greatly increased her political clout by establishing Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP). The group provides a snapshot of the overwhelming support from Visayas and Mindanao, with 9 out of the 13 Senatoriables under the HNP slate emerging victorious in the last elections.

Looking ahead to 2022, there are of course no guarantees, but Sara seems to be in a perfect position to continue the Duterte Legacy. A ‘Sara Duterte for President’ run is attractive because all signs point to her having the same political will as her father. The public support Rody continues to enjoy is on the table for Inday Sara to gain, a political birthright that suggests continuity of this administration’s accomplishments and projects.

Her Father’s Daughter

However, 2022 is a long way off, and a lot of things might change. With the volatility of Philippine politics, Inday Sara might be going up against other, more seasoned politicos, some even aligned with her father. On top of this, her biggest strength might also be her most obvious weakness – the Duterte name. Think of it as a bull’s eye on her back. She won’t be able to escape it.


There is no single scenario wherein Inday Sara would not bear the brunt of her father’s critics. The opposition, by then, would have had six years of practice with their anti-Duterte rhetoric. They’ll be more organized than ever, and the young Duterte should be ready for that. They will attack her for being her father’s daughter, no matter how much good she does between now and 2022. With the highest seat in the land at stake, the gloves are off.

Sara will gain support for her desire to finish what her father started. It’s the blessing and curse of her last name. Because if she wins and does just that, she could also forever rule under her father’s shadow. For all the good and bad it brings, she cannot be detached from her father’s work – that is part and parcel of the Duterte Legacy.

Is it in God’s Plan?

Despite the current groundswell of support, Inday Sara has a lot to consider. Whether a ‘Sara Duterte for President’ campaign in 2022 is the best move for her, or if it’s better to join forces with other administration candidates that would ensure the continuation of her father’s legacy. That’s really what it’s all about. Duty, not personal ambition.

No matter how impatient some may get about it, her candidacy is a decision hers alone to make. Will she keep us guessing until the last minute? She wouldn’t be the first Duterte to do it, that’s for sure.


In an interview, Inday Sara seemed to hint at knowing how daunting the Presidency is, but implied she’s keeping her options open.

Siguro para hindi tayo magkamali, (Perhaps, so we don’t make a mistake,) we should pray for wisdom on how to go about it and how to decide,” said Duterte. “Everything is easier if it is the plan of God, so I think before I think about that, I should ask God first if is this for me.”

RELATED: The Duterte Effect – What Does It Really Mean?

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