Rodrigo Duterte threatens return to Philippine politics if daughter Sara impeached as vice-president

Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would be forced to come out of retirement and run to become a senator or seek the nation’s second-highest post if his daughter, Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio, was impeached.

His comments come as the vice-president faced public scrutiny over her request for and past use of confidential funds, with one opposition lawmaker saying there have been informal talks at the House of Representatives to oust her.

“If you do that, I’ll return to politics. I will be forced to,” Duterte, the 78-year-old firebrand predecessor of Ferdinand Marcos Jnr, said in the local language during his regular interview with broadcaster SMNI on Monday, which was posted on Facebook. “It’s either I will run for senator or I will run for vice-president even if I’m old.”
Philippine Vice-President Sara Duterte-Carpio with President Ferdinand Marcos Jnr during their inauguration ceremony in Manila last year. Photo: AP

Duterte who ended his six-year term in June 2022 with a high popularity rating, warned political opponents he didn’t name that the midterm election is “just around the corner.”

The Philippines will vote for local leaders as well as members of the House and the Senate in May 2025, and elect the next president and vice-president in 2028.

“Look, you don’t have a headache as of now. I will be forced to come out of retirement,” Duterte said.

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The former leader also brought up the idea of seeking the vice-president post or a Senate seat about a year before the 2022 election.

Marcos Jnr has backed his vice-president, describing their relationship as “excellent”.

In the past months, however, the vice-president has been distancing herself from Marcos Jnr’s cousin and key ally, House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

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Duterte-Carpio has also drawn public scrutiny over her request for 650 million pesos (US$11.7 million) in confidential funds for 2024, and questions over how she had spent similar opaque funds in the past. The Romualdez-led House earlier moved to transfer the vice-president’s secret funds to agencies involved in defending the country’s claims in the South China Sea, with Duterte-Carpio dropping her request for such allocations earlier this month.

Duterte-Carpio, for her part, said over the weekend that her relationship with Marcos Jnr remains OK, and that she retains the president’s trust, according to an Inquirer report.

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