Sara Duterte: ‘I’m not running for senator in 2019’

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will not run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.

“I am not running for the Senate,” Sara said during the oath-taking of 5,000 new members of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional political party she heads, at the provincial gym in Malita, Davao Occidental, yesterday.

“We just wanted to create a strong Region 11. We did not foresee this growing interest of other politicians from other regions,” she added.

Even President Duterte has repeatedly said that his daughter is not seeking a national position.

“She is not going to run for any national office,” Duterte said earlier.

Sara can seek reelection or run for congresswoman in the 2019 polls.

The presidential daughter also said it is too early to declare that HNP is going national despite the strong clamor from politicians from other areas to join the party.

“It will be a difficult decision to go national and I am not ready to decide on it right now. Even the other officers are not keen on deciding on this. But we are set to create alliances with other groups to help each other,” she added.

The oath-taking of new HNP members was also attended by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, presidential spokesman Harry Roque, Maguindanao second district Rep. ZajidMangudadatu, and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista and other local government officials welcomed the President’s daughter.

Sara thanked the residents of Davao Occidental for supporting the administration of her father.

“My family would like to once again thank everyone of you for supporting my father,” the mayor said.

Roque yesterday took his oath as a member of HNP. Roque said it is just proper for him to join Duterte’s party because he is the presidential spokesman.

“I took the oath a while ago. Well, you know I am the presidential spokesperson and the President has said ever since Hugpong is his party. So I think it’s only right that I also join his party. This is without prejudice to alliances that Hugpong may enter into, including with PDP-Laban (PartidoDemokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan),” Roque said at a press briefing in Davao Occidental.

Duterte served as the standard bearer of PDP-Laban during the 2016 polls. He is now chairman of the ruling party.

Roque, who has been holding press briefings in different provinces, kept mum on his political plans.

“I am still praying. It’s up to God,” he said.

“I am just an activist. I never thought I would be a congressman. When I was congressman, I never expected to be invited by the President to become a member of the Cabinet,” he added. –  With Alexis Romero