Like Rodrigo Duterte, many people are asking why Sara Duterte-Carpio, who had been leading in all pre-campaign surveys, decided to drop out from the presidential race and settle for the vice president position.

Duterte was obviously upset. He wanted her to succeed him in June 2022 when he steps down from power. He does not really trust Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Hours after Sara Duterte-Carpio filed her certificate of candidacy for vice president, her father said he would also run for vice president, taking on his daughter. It was obviously a ploy to force Sara to reconsider and run for president.

But she did not. She came out with a statement explaining why she ran for vice president. It was a compromise with her supporters who wanted her to run for president because she really did not intend to seek a national position.

Duterte called off his bluff and decided to run for a seat in the Senate.

He supported his long-time personal assistant, Sen. Christopher Lawrence Go, to show his disgust over the political maneuvering that resulted in the Bongbong-Sara tandem.

For Duterte, the family’s interest is important. So it’s only Sara or Bong Go who should become president to preserve his legacy and shield him from potential lawsuits once he is out of power.

But his daughter has other plans. Her decision to run for vice president exposed the dynamics within the family.

The father and daughter have a long love-hate relationship going back to her rebellious years as a student.

She despised her father’s womanizing, which led to the breakup of his marriage to her mother.

But she followed in his footsteps, first taking up a law degree at the same school Duterte went to, then running for public office in Davao City.

Like her father, she started as vice mayor in 2007, two decades after Duterte first held public office as vice mayor.

Sara succeeded her father twice as mayor but reversed some of his policies and even removed her father’s allies at city hall. She wanted to prove she was different and better than her father. She showed her independence. Duterte tolerated her.

On Nov. 15, Duterte relented to his daughter’s wish to be vice president and avoided a disastrous Duterte-versus-Duterte clash by running for senator instead under Bong Go’s party.

Both father and daughter are trailing behind Sen. Vicente Sotto III in the race for vice president. The SWS October survey showed Sotto with 44-percent support against Sara’s 25 percent. Sotto was also ahead of Sara’s father in a Pulse Asia survey.

Sara has better chances than her father. She enjoyed the support of the president’s supporters and her own followers—the so-called Duterte fanatics who helped his father win in 2016 and made him the most popular leader in the next five years. She will also get a big boost from Marcos’s loyal supporters.

Sadly, Marcos will not enjoy the support of Duterte die-hard supporters.

In the October SWS opinion polls, Marcos’s ratings shot up to 47 percent, way ahead of the pack, with Leni Robredo at 18 percent and in second place.

Political observers say Marcos benefited when Sara dropped out of the race. It’s possible Sara’s more than 20-percent rating in the September survey transferred to Marcos when she did not file her candidacy in October. That could explain Marcos’s numbers in the late October survey. Thus, he could not afford to be complacent.

Duterte supporters who shifted voter preference to Marcos could swing back support to Bong Go when the survey is conducted late this month or early next month. Sara’s own supporters could remain behind Marcos.

In the next survey of SWS and Pulse Asia, Marcos’s numbers would likely go down while those of other candidates, like Go and Robredo, could move up.

When Sara was still considered a presidential candidate, Go was at the bottom of voter preference, with a single-digit rating. But it is expected to move up, aided by Duterte’s endorsement.

Robredo’s numbers may also move up slightly as many people were disturbed with the Duterte family’s political theatrics.

There’s a possibility the disqualification case against Marcos could affect his candidacy. People might get turned off by a fat chance the dictator’s son might be disqualified based on complaints that he was a tax evader.

Remember that Duterte will have full control of the Commission on Elections by February next year when its chairman and three other commissioners will retire.

If Marcos remained a top contender, the president could use the Comelec to cut him down, giving Bong Go a fighting chance to win the presidency.

Marcos could also expect attacks from all other candidates, which could weaken him. Remember, no candidate who had topped the pre-campaign surveys won an election. Except, perhaps, Joseph Estrada, but he didn’t finish his term.

In the 2016 elections, Duterte was at fourth place before the filing of candidacy, moved up to third place in December, and became number one in March.

It is too early to tell who will win the elections. Candidates trailing Marcos could stage an upset win. Both Bong Go and Leni Robredo have the momentum but it’s not a guarantee they would win.

Ping Lacson, Isko Moreno, and Manny Pacquiao are dangerously behind. They can present themselves as alternatives to the administration—represented by Marcos and Go—and the opposition bannered by Robredo.

Most Filipinos have not made up their minds. The past two surveys, in September and October, were largely influenced by social media and name recall. The real survey will be on May 9, 2022.