Rodrigo Duterte: Philippine Presidency ‘Is Not for Women’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his state of the nation address at Congress in Manila on July 24, 2017. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed July 24 to press on with his controversial drug war that has claimed thousands of lives, as he outlined his vision of an …

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday that the presidency “is not for women” and that he has discouraged his politician daughter, Sara Duterte, from running for president of the Philippines.

“My daughter is not running. I have told Inday not to run because I pity (her) knowing she will have to go through what I am going through,” Duterte said at the launch of a highway project on January 14. He referred to Sara by her nickname, Inday.

“This is not for women. You know, the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different. You will become a fool here. So … that is the sad story,” Duterte said, as quoted by Reuters.

Political observers view Sara Duterte as a frontrunner in the Philippines’ next presidential election in 2022. She currently serves as the mayor of Davao City, located on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Sara succeeded her father as mayor of Davao City after he served as the city’s leader off and on for several years from 1988 to 2016 until leaving the post to take the nation’s highest office. Philippine presidents are elected to a single, six-year term, meaning Rodrigo Duterte cannot run for reelection in 2022.

According to Reuters on Thursday, Sara “came top in a recent opinion poll that asked the [Philippine] public to choose a preferred candidate from a list of possible contenders for the 2022 elections.”

Sara Duterte told Reuters on January 14 that she does not intend to run for president of the Philippines in 2022, adding that she has informed her father of this lack of intention.

“I am not being coy nor am I doing a ‘last-minute,’” she said in a text message to the news agency.

“If the whole country does not want to believe (this) then I can’t do anything about it. Not everyone wants to be president. I am one of them,” Sara said.

“I thank all of them for their trust and confidence in what I can do but my refusal to run for president is not the end of the world,” she added.

If Sara Duterte does not run for president in 2022, legendary boxer and Philippine legislator Manny Pacquiao will have an even greater shot at the role. Pacquiao was elected president of the Philippines’ ruling political party, PDP-Laban, last month, reigniting speculation that he may run for president in 2022.

The Philippines has had two female presidents since its establishment as a commonwealth in 1935. Corazon Aquino served as president of the Philippines from 1986-1992, followed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from 2001-2010. Arroyo established herself as an ally of Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 after she was elected the Philippines’ Speaker of the House of Representatives. She retired from the post in 2019. Like Sara Duterte, Arroyo’s father also served as president of the Philippines.


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