DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has withdrawn her candidacy for mayor and nominated her brother, incumbent Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, as her substitute for the 2022 elections.

Duterte-Carpio arrived at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office around 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, to withdraw her certificate of candidacy (COC).

The mayor declined to grant an interview to the media waiting for her outside.

But in a statement posted on her Facebook page, she confirmed the withdrawal of her candidacy for reelection.

“Ngayong hapon wini-withdraw ko ang akong kandidatura sa pagka-Mayor ng Davao City. Si VM Baste ang papalit sa akin. Si [Councilor] Atty. Melchor Quitain [Jr.] ang nominado namin sa pagka-Bise Alkalde (I have withdrawn as a candidate for mayor of Davao City. Vice Mayor Baste will be running for mayor while Atty. Melchor Quitain Jr. has been nominated for the vice mayorship),” she said.

However, it is not clear whether she will be running for another position.

The recent withdrawal sparked hope among her supporters that she will run for a national post. But Duterte-Carpio previously said she will not be running for President despite clamor from her supporters.

Her withdrawal draws comparisons with what her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, did in October 2015 when he also filed his reelection bid for Davao City mayor after steadfastly saying he would not run for President, only to withdraw his bid for mayor and file his COC for President a month later.

Speculation that she would run for a national position in the 2022 polls grew last month when Duterte-Carpio met with presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Sen. Imee Marcos in Cebu last Oct. 23.

A day earlier Duterte-Carpio was also spotted wearing a hoodie with “Sara All 2022” emblazoned on it. Sara All Philippines 2022 is one of the groups urging her to run for President in the elections.

Duterte-Carpio was supposed to run for her third term as mayor. She was first elected in 2010, the first female and the youngest to be elected to the mayoral position. She won her first elected position in 2007 as vice mayor.

Baste also withdraws COC

Earlier on Tuesday morning, Duterte also withdrew his reelection bid for the 2022 elections and nominated Quitain as his substitute.

The vice mayor personally withdrew his COC.

“I have filed my withdrawal as vice mayor candidate of Davao City. I hereby nominate Atty. Melchor Quitain Jr. as my substitute,” Duterte said in a statement.

He added, “I am deeply grateful to the Dabawenyos for the support they have given me all this time.”

Duterte returned in the afternoon to personally file his COC as mayor.

In an ambush interview, the vice mayor said he only abided by his sister’s order to withdraw his candidacy for reelection.

“Katong naa siya [Duterte-Carpio] instruction sa ako na mo-withdraw ko, and then karon na mo-file ko COC, gisunod ra nako (When she instructed that I withdraw and file my COC today, I just followed her instruction),” he said.

He is also uncertain if the mayor is planning to run for a higher post.

It would have been Duterte’s second term considering he was running unopposed in the 2022 local elections. He was elected to his first government position in 2019, when he also ran unopposed.

According to the Comelec guidelines, the substitution of candidates will only be until Nov. 15.

Quitain, who was also at the Comelec office to withdraw his candidacy for reelection, said he was supposed to meet with

Duterte-Carpio, but the latter left to attend an important event.

The councilor admitted he did not expect the turn of events.

“To be honest, this was not expected. I did not expect this at all,” he said.

Quitain, who is also the 19th City Council floor leader, said he was suddenly informed of his nomination for vice mayor.

Contenders

President Duterte has been egging Duterte-Carpio to gun for the presidency, so if she seeks a national position, it is expected that she will go for either the top or second highest post of the land.

That would pit her against the tandems of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who were the first to announce their presidential and vice presidential bid, respectively, for the 2022 elections; Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan; Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and House Deputy Speaker and former Manila mayor Lito Atienza; and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Dr. Willie Ong.

She could also be up against or be the running mate of presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos, who is still searching for a vice presidential running mate. Imee has voiced her wish for Duterte-Carpio to run in tandem with her brother.

Presidential aspirant Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and vice presidential bet Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, both allies of Presidential Duterte, are not seen as threats but possible placeholders for Duterte-Carpio or other candidates who can still vie for the two top posts of the country if they file their COCs by this Monday’s substitution deadline. (SunStar Davao, CTL)