Former Philippine President Duterte plans to run for Senate next year, daughter says

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte plans to run for the Senate in mid-term elections next year, his daughter and the country's vice president said Tuesday.

When Duterte's stormy presidential term ended in 2022, he said he would retire from politics, but he has walked back on his public pronouncements multiple times.

Vice President Sara Duterte said her two brothers also plan to run in the election while she eventually intends to return to her family’s southern political stronghold of Davao city, where she once served as a mayor, to run for the same position again.

She didn't say when she intends to do that. One of her two brothers, Sebastian Duterte, who is the current Davao city mayor, also plans to run for the presidency in 2028, she told reporters.

Sara Duterte ran as the vice-presidential running mate of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of an ousted dictator, under a hastily forged political unity ticket and both won with huge margins in 2022. The alliance of the scions of two authoritarian leaders combined the voting power of their families’ political strongholds but compounded worries of human rights activists.

The alliance, however, rapidly faced political headwinds.

Last week, Sara Duterte announced she was resigning from her posts of education secretary and head of an anti-insurgency body, without saying why. It was the latest sign her alliance with President Marcos Jr. was floundering over key differences, including the current administration’s handling of escalating territorial disputes with Beijing.

Duterte, 46, remains vice president. Marcos Jr accepted her two resignations, which will take effect July 19, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said.

There have been open political hostilities between her father and Marcos Jr.

Early this year, Rodrigo Duterte accused Marcos Jr.'s legislative allies of plotting to amend the constitution to lift term limits and warned that could lead to him being ousted by a public uprising like his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. On China’s increasingly aggressive moves against the Philippines in the South China Sea, Marcos Jr. has become one of the most vocal critics of Beijing’s actions, in sharp contrast to the vice president’s refusal to comment on the issue.

Sara Duterte's father nurtured cozy ties during his presidency with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin while often criticizing the security policies of the United States and its Western allies.

Marcos Jr., who took office in 2022, backpedaled by rapidly boosting security ties with Washington, which he said needed to have a presence in Asia as a counterweight to China.

He also announced that he would shift his predecessor’s brutal crackdown against illegal drugs which killed thousands of mostly poor suspects, to refocus on the rehabilitation of drug dependents. The killings under Duterte sparked an investigation by the International Criminal Court as a possible crime against humanity. He also accused Marcos of being a drug addict, which the incumbent president has denied.