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As President Duterte Heads For Exit, Bongbong and Pacman Set to Challenge His Daughter in 2022 Poll

© REUTERS / POOL NewPresident Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara, known as Inday Sara
President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter Sara, known as Inday Sara - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.07.2021
Rodrigo Duterte, a political maverick whose image has echoes of Donald Trump, was elected President of the Philippines in May 2016. But under the country’s constitution he cannot stand for re-election next year.
The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, appears to be lining up his daughter Sara to bid to succeed him in next year’s election.
Sara, known to Filipinos as Inday Sara, looks likely to have some interesting and tough opponents in her fight to get into the Malacañang Palace.
On Friday, 23 July, a spokesman for the most famous Filipino on the planet - boxer Manny Pacquiao - confirmed he would be throwing his hat in the ring.
​Former Congressman Monico Puentevella told CNN: “It doesn't matter who else are running but Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao is going to run for President. He will file his candidacy.”
But before announcing his candidacy Pacquiao, 42, has the small matter of a fight with Errol Spence, in Las Vegas on 21 August.
Spence, 31, is unbeaten in 27 fights and will be the bookmakers’ favourite going into the fight for the WBC and IBF world welterweight titles.
Whatever the result, it is likely to be Pacquiao’s last fight, and Puentevella said he is set to talk to a number of political parties when he returns to Manila at the end of the month.
She said: "Everybody's waiting to sit down with him and then we will discuss, who will be vice president, who will be senators." 
Pacquiao - known to fight fans as Pacman - was elected to the House of Representatives in the Philippines in 2010, re-elected in 2013 and then became a Senator three years later.
In the Senate he has strongly supported Duterte’s tough line on crime and has even gone further, co-signing a bill to bring back capital punishment which failed to get passed.
​But it will not be a straight contest between Pacquiao and Sara Duterte, whose 76-year-old father will probably stand as her Vice President, and the third candidate is a blast from the past.
The constitution of the Philippines - which was drawn up in 1987 - bars Presidents from running for re-election.
It was drawn up specifically to thwart a repetition of the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos, a close ally of the United States, who was re-elected in a rigged vote in 1969 and then held onto power, largely under martial law, until finally being ousted by a People’s Power revolution in 1986.
​Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, having stolen millions of dollars from government funds, but his son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, returned to the Philippines and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 and to the Senate in 2010.
Bongbong ran unsuccessfully for Vice President in 2016, narrowly losing out to Leni Robredo, and this time is going for the top job.
Despite his own lack of clear policies, his family’s huge wealth and allegations of corruption, Bongbong retains a personal following which could see him reclaim a position which his father was forced to give up due to street protests 35 years ago.
​But a poll last month by Pulse Asia put Sara Duterte well ahead - on 28 percent, compared with Bongbong on 13 and Pacman on eight percent.
​Grace Poe, who came third in the 2016 election, was on 10 percent and Francisco Domagoso, a former actor who is now Mayor of Metro Manila, was on 14 percent.
Duterte, who led the Pulse Asia poll for vice president, made his last State of the Nation address on Monday, 26 July.
He frequently went off script during a three-hour diatribe against communists, corrupt officials and paedophiles.
Duterte defended his handling of the pandemic - 1.5 million Filipinos have been infected and 27,000 have died and the economy has been hit hard.
He also defended his brutal crackdown on drug dealers: "While we have made great strides in ending rebellion and insurgency in various parts of the country, we still have a long way in our fight against the proliferation of drugs.”
​Only five percent of Filipinos have been fully vaccinated and Duterte urged people to get inoculated, but added: “We cannot afford more lockdowns lest our economy bleed to the point of irreversible damage."
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