By Xave Gregorio
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is being propped up to follow the footsteps of his father, as administration Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said she is his among his top picks to become the next leader of the country.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado Thursday (August 2), Lacson showered praises for Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying she “stands out” among the pack of young leaders.
“She’s strong-willed, stern, vibrant progressive-minded and has obviously good leadership qualities,” Lacon said.
The Davao City mayor had been in headlines in the past week as reports and congressmen say she masterminded the ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker.
However, she has not denied or confirmed whether she had a hand in the ouster of Alvarez, a key ally of his father, which led to his replacement by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The younger Duterte, however, has been hosting thanksgiving luncheons with allies, which Lacson said “validates” the influence she exerted over congressmen.
Lacson, before hailing Sara, slammed the meddling of relatives of presidents in affairs which they have no business in.
“We should reject any interference and influence peddling by somebody outside the official chain of the government bureaucracy but who projects closeness to the president due to kinship,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s an Imelda Marcos, or a Peping Cojuangco or a Mike Arroyo, or ny presidential relative,” he continued. “It is not about them. It is about undue intrusion in some major state affairs in which they have no business interfering.”
He said their interference in the bureaucracy impedes the smooth and efficient delivery of government services.
Asked if President Duterte should talk to his daughter about her apparent influence over a majority of members of the lower chamber, Lacson said, “As we speak, palagay ko nagkausap na sila.”
“Alam naman natin na alam ni Pangulong Duterte na hindi makakatulong ‘yun sa kanyang governance eh. Eh any sensible thinking indivdual, lalo na kung leader ka, alam mo na kapag nakialam ‘yung kamaganak mo hindi tulong ‘yun,” Lacson said.
Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the President’s daughter would most likely run for president in the 2022 polls, to keep him in power.
In response, the younger Duterte said on Facebook, “Leave me in peace in Davao City or else you and your friends will spend more than a billion in the 2022 Presidential elections just to make me insignificant.”
However, she has been denying that she would be gunning for a national post, despite bridging alliances with major national parties.
President Duterte also said in a recent speech that his daughter would not run for a national position.