Since President Rodrigo Duterte cannot be re-elected as president and won’t likely win the vice-presidential seat, he will play kingmaker instead.

PressOne.PH columnist Manuel “Manny” Mogato made this prediction in a podcast on July 9 as Duterte expressed interest in a vice-presidential run in the 2022 Philippine presidential election.

“Mukhang mahihirapan si Pangulong Duterte na manalo e, kasi sinusuka na ‘yong administrasyon sa dami ng taong nawalan ng trabaho, nagugutom, at itong [response sa] pandemya,” Mogato said.

(It looks like President Duterte will have difficulty winning, because the administration is in a bad light due to many people unemployed, hungry, and also because of the pandemic response.)

The veteran journalist, who has covered politics since the later years of the Marcos regime, predicted that Duterte would have a hard time choosing between his longtime aide Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who both have presidential ambitions.

This will split the ruling coalition led by Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP)-Laban.

Mogato also said that if the president plans to slide down to vice president, the president’s daughter would give way to Go, giving an opening for politicians who had eyed a vice-presidential run with Sara to run for the presidency instead.

If this happens, a non-Duterte ally could become the next president, and Duterte would lose power, experiencing what he did to Vice President Leni Robredo, the PressOne.PH editor-at-large explained.

Mogato said he had analyzed Sara’s previous poll ratings and saw that while she was on the top spot, her numbers were way below Duterte’s 90-percent approval rating.

Potential candidates for the presidency were Sara, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson Sr., Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Domagoso, and Robredo, he said.

He said Sara and Pacquiao would split the Mindanao vote, Isko Moreno would get a solid Luzon vote, and Robredo would not be voted by Duterte supporters.

“Ang importante ngayon sa darating na halalan ay di ka ma-identify na tutang-tuta ni Duterte o oposisyon. Kaya nga siguro maraming umiiwas na sumama sa 1Sambayan kasi male-label na oposisyon e. Ang plataporma siguro ng mga tatakbo ay alternative candidate sila,” Mogato said.

(What’s important for the next election is to not be identified as Duterte’s pup or as part of the opposition. Maybe that’s why many are avoiding joining 1Sambayan because they will be labeled as the opposition. The platform of the running candidates would be that they are the alternative candidate.)

Duterte has been a government official since 1986. He was appointed officer-in-charge vice mayor in Davao City by former president Corazon Aquino after the downfall of Marcos.

From then on, he served as Davao City mayor for multiple terms (1988–1998, 2001–2010, 2013–2016), and also as representative of Davao City’s first district from 1998 to 2001.

Duterte’s presidency will end on June 30, 2022. Jelo Ritzhie Mantaring