[MINDANAO 2022] Duterte out, Duterte in; still ‘all in the family’ in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 01 January) — The country’s first Mindanawon President, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, stepped down after a six-year term on June 30, 2022, the same day his daughter Sara, started her six-year term as Vice President, his youngest son Sebastian his first three-year term as Davao City Mayor and his eldest son Paolo, his second term as Representative of the first congressional district of Davao City. 

The 44-year old Sara, three-term mayor of Davao City and running mate of the UniTeam’s Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr., garnered 32,208,417 votes, nearly double the number of votes her father got in 2016 (16,601,997) and nearly 600,000 votes more than Marcos’ 31,629,783. 

Sara Duterte, 15th Vice President of the Philippines, with parents Elizabeth Zimmerman and President Rodrigo Duterte. Supreme court Justice Ramon Paul Hernando administered her in Davao City on 19 June 2022. MIndaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Sara is the third Mindanawon Vice President after Emmanuel Pelaez (1961 to 1965) and Teofisto Guingona, Jr., (January 2001 to 2004). Pelaez and Sara were both elected. Guingona was appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who, as Vice President, assumed the post of President after Joseph Estrada was impeached on charges of bribery and corruption. 

Marcos, Jr., who was nominated as standard-bearer of the Mindanao-based Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, a political party organized by President Duterte’s supporters,  appointed Sara as Education Secretary

In Davao City, the Duterte brothers faced serious challengers in the May 2022 polls: lawyer Ruy Elias Lopez, a former three-term Representative of the 3rd district in Davao City and son of the late mayor Elias B. Lopez against Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte for the post of mayor and peace and development worker Maria Victoria “Mags” Maglana against reelectionist 1st district Representative Paolo Duterte. The brothers won. The “dynasty slayers” lost but won the hearts of  Dabawenyos and those outside the city who want an end to political dynasties, for their courage to challenge the well-entrenched Dutertes. 

Except for the years 1998 to 2001, the Dutertes have ruled Davao City as mayor from 1988 to 2025: Rodrigo served seven terms (1988 to 2008, 2001 to 2010 and 2013 to 2016), Sara served for three terms (2010 to 2013, 2016 to 2022) and Sebastian from 2022 to 2025. 

The Dutertes also occupied the vice mayoralty post from 2007 to 2022 – Sara from 2007 to 2010, Rodrigo from 2010 to 2013, Paolo from 2013 to 2016 and  was reelected for 2016 to 2019 but resigned in December 2017, and Sebastian from 2019 to 2022. Sebastian filed his certificate of candidacy for a reelection bid as vice mayor and Sara filed her COC for what would have been her third consecutive term as mayor, but withdrew to run for Vice President. Sebastian withdrew his COC for Vice Mayor and substituted for Sara in the mayoralty race. 

Still all in the family in 2022 polls

Across Mindanao’s 27 provinces, 33 cities and 60 congressional districts in the May 2022 polls, the winners are still all in the family. 

There was hardly any changing of the guards, except in a handful of areas like Surigao del Norte, where the patriarch of a political dynasty, Francisco Matugas, Sr. was defeated by Robert Lyndon Barbers, a member of a dynasty that the Matugas dynasty earlier toppled and in Bukidnon where 3rd district Rep. Manuel Zubiri,  son of long-time Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, lost his gubernatorial bid to 4th district Rep. Rogelio Neil Roque. Roque’s wife Laarni, a councilor of Valencia City, won the congressional district seat her husband represented. 

In North Cotabato and Dinagat Islands, the “dynasty slayers” of 2019 – Nancy Catamco and Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao —  lost in their reelection bid to a dynasty member and dynasty-backed candidate. 

From the first elections in the post-Marcos dictatorship era — 1987 for Congress and 1988 for local posts — until the end of this present term on June 30, 2025, MindaNews’ research shows that one political dynasty will have ruled as Governor of the province for 33 years (Dimaporos of Lanao del Norte), three for 27 years (Amantes of Agusan del Norte, Romualdos of Camiguin, Mangudadatus of Sultan Kudarat); one political dynasty will have ruled as City Mayor for 34 years (Dutertes of Davao), another for 27 years (Uys of Dipolog), and two for 21 years (Jalosjos of Dapitan and Furigays of Lamitan); and four political dynasties will have ruled their congressional districts uninterrupted, as Representatives for 12 terms or 38 years (Zubiris of the third district of Bukidnon, Romualdos of the lone district of Camiguin, Bautistas of Davao Occidental and the Almarios of Davao Oriental). 

Like the rest of the country, the post-Marcos dictatorship or post-EDSA political landscape in Mindanao in the past four decades saw the death and resurrection, and the rise as well as expansion of political dynasties. The1987 Constitution prohibits political dynasties to ensure “equal access to opportunities for public service” but no anti-dynasty law has been passed by the dynasty-dominated Congress.

The President and Vice President are members of political dynasties. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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