PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has no plan to lengthen his stay in power when he said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was the most eligible person to be his next successor in 2022, Malacañang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte's "unofficial" statement, which was published on newspaper The Philippine Star carrying a headline "Rody eyes daughter Sara as successor," does not necessarily mean he wants his daughter to replace him after his term.
He said the President was merely underlining the need to preserve administration's gains "by someone [whom] he actually trusts," apparently referring to younger Duterte.
"It was not an official statement, okay? That statement was made to one reporter. Second, I think, you're making a breathtaking leap by assuming that he wants power when he says that his daughter is somebody that he trusts," Abella told Palace reporters.
"I think the President is just being very, very pragmatic. It's not a question of wanting to perpetuate power but ensuring whatever gains that we have made, the administration may have made, will be preserved by someone [whom] he actually trusts," he added.
Amid fears that he might declare one-man rule, Duterte has repeatedly depicted himself as a president who has no ambitions to enjoy his power and extend his stay in office.
But in an article written by Philippine Star journalist Edith Regalado, Duterte reportedly believed that his daughter has the potential to be his successor.
The President, during a media night held on September 22, was quoted as saying: "I couldn't find any other better candidate that Sara to become the next president. And one thing about her is she is not a bigot."
Abella said Duterte simply acknowledged his daughter's capability to serve the whole country.
He, however, said the Chief Executive should not be misconstrued that he wants "to perpetuate power."
"He saw the capacity, capability, sincerity, intention of Sara Duterte. I think you have to consider her as an independent personality and not just his daughter," Abella said.
"She is an effective person and mayor and politician who happen to be his daughter. So it's not a question of wanting to perpetuate power," he added. (SunStar Philippines)