The other day, the city woke up to “Run Sara Run” streamers hanging along Osmeña Blvd. and Gen. Maxilom Avenue, posted by the “Friends of Sara Cebu.” The friends did not identify themselves.
Meanwhile in Davao City, friends of the President’s daughter bared plans to organize motorcades bearing the same (but this time with the appropriate punctuation marks) message: Run, Sara, Run.
These initiatives do not violate the law. They are not asking the people to vote for Duterte-Carpio. They are trying to persuade her to offer herself to the people as their President.
But even granting that her friends are in fact campaigning, the activity is lawful because while premature campaigning is still proscribed, the prohibition is useless and illusory because of a quirk in the law regulating automated elections.
However, they violate Duterte-Carpio’s express wishes. In Davao, she told her friends not to proceed with the motorcades because they’re a waste of fuel, they violate the city’s anti-pollution ordinance and more importantly, she is definitely not running for President in 2022. 2034, maybe, she said.
But her friends will not stop trying to persuade her. More tarpaulins will appear in public places and in many other cities in the next few months, urging the Davao City mayor to run for the highest office next year.
Her friends are not about to give up. For them, she is not only a sure winner, she will also make a good President. And as far as they’re concerned, no disavowal of interest in the presidency is cast in granite. Duterte-Carpio is averse to the idea of a presidential run now, but who is to say for certain that she will not change her mind? It happened before.
I’m not even talking about her father’s entering the presidential derby as a late substitute in 2016 despite his earlier repeated vigorous rejections of the notion of himself being a presidential candidate. He was not the first.
It was actually Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who set the precedent. On Rizal Day in Baguio in 2002, Arroyo, who ascended to the presidency as successor to the ousted Erap Estrada, announced that she did not intend to seek a mandate of her own in 2004.
“I reviewed what has been done and what has not been done and I saw that the country has not united,” she said then. “The poison in the air is so pervasive so I thought if this would be the atmosphere under which I would rule, how would I chart the country toward a bright future?”
The following year, she changed her mind without anyone, friend or foe, hanging a banner or organizing a caravan urging Run, Gloria, Run.
Now you see why the Friends of Sara are not ready to give up.