Sara Duterte Joins Arroyo's Lakas Party as Palace Run Beckons

Keeping up with the Duterte plot twists.
Photo/s: Office of House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez

(UPDATE) Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio jetted to the exclusive resort island of Balesin and quit her own party on Thursday to join former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's Lakas CMD  in the latest plot twist after she dropped her reelection bid.

Duterte-Carpio went to Balesin to greet her ally, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, a happy birthday, said her spokesperson, Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco.

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Shortly after news of the Balesin trip broke, Duterte-Carpio's own party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, said she had quit. Comelec earlier said she couldn't seek a national post with Hugpong, a regional party, and that she would need to substitute for a national candidate should she decide to pursue national office.

Hours after quitting Hugpong, Duterte-Carpio took oath as member of Arroyo's Lakas CMD party.

President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter had not commented on renewed calls for her to run to succeed him via a substitution route, the window for which will end on Nov. 15. 

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Earlier this week, her father's longtime aide, vice presidential aspirant Sen. Bong Go, quickly hinted at changes in his candidacy even as the President's daughter has yet to announce her political plans.

"Dahil sa kagustuhan ng ating mahal na Pangulo, kailangan kong umiwas. Malalaman 'nyo lang po 'yan sa darating na araw," a teary-eyed Go said in an event Tuesday.

Duterte-Carpio will likely run for president and was intending to do so since May, according to her ally Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, also a known Arroyo lieutenant.

Lakas-CMD earlier said two of its members who registered as presidential and vice presidential candidates could be substituted. Party president House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said Lakas-CMD was ready to back Duterte-Carpio should she decide to run for higher office.

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And in the week of plot twists that keeps on giving, presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao met with President Duterte late Wednesday after months of testy exchanges that divided their political party PDP-Laban.

Pacquiao requested the meeting and there was "no talk of politics but a renewal of friendship," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

The morning of the next day, Salceda said Pacquiao would spring a "last surprise" before the deadline for candidate substitution.

Duterte-Carpio earlier fanned talk of a possible tandem with presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr when they attended a birthday party in Cebu City.

Until Monday, Nov. 15, Filipinos will have to wait and see who the final election candidates are for 2022.


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