Home International News Daughter Duterte takes oath as Philippines vice president

Daughter Duterte takes oath as Philippines vice president

Sara Duterte, daughter of the outgoing populist president of the Philippines, was sworn in as vice president on Sunday after a landslide election victory.

Ms. Duterte won the election despite her father’s controversial human rights record, which saw thousands of drug suspects shot.

The inauguration in the southern city of Davao, where Ms. Duterte is the outgoing mayor, will take place before she takes office on June 30, as stipulated in the Philippine constitution. President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Duterte’s running mate, will be sworn in on June 30 in Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte, 77, led the VIPs during the heavily guarded ceremony in a public square in the port city of Davao, where he had also been mayor for a long time since the late 1980s. Coming from a humble middle-class background, his family built a formidable political dynasty in the troubled southern region long ravaged by communist and Islamic insurgency and violent political rivalry.

Duterte’s presidency has been marked by a brutal anti-drug campaign in which thousands, mostly petty drug smugglers, have been shot dead by police or vigilantes. He is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

The electoral triumph of Sara Duterte and Marcos Jr. has alarmed left-wing and human rights groups for failing to recognize the massive human rights atrocities committed by their fathers, including the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte campaigned on a vague platform of national unity, without clearly addressing activists’ calls for steps to be taken to prosecute the elder Duterte when he retires from politics.

One of the president’s sons, Sebastian Duterte, will succeed his sister as mayor of Davao, and another son, Paolo Duterte, won a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 9 election. The late father of the outgoing president was a former governor of Davao.

The Philippine elections have long been dominated by politicians who belong to the same bloodlines. At least 250 political families have monopolized power across the country, although such dynasties are prohibited by the constitution. Congress — long controlled by members of powerful clans targeted by the constitutional ban — has not passed the law necessary to define and enforce the provision.

While Sara Duterte, 44, declined calls from her father and supporters to seek the presidency, she is not ruling out a future run. She topped the presidential election polls last year, winning by a huge margin like Marcos Jr.

Aside from the vice president, she has agreed to serve as education secretary, although there have been talks that her first preference would be the head of the Department of National Defense, a traditional springboard to the presidency.

Still, the education portfolio would provide its first often-problematic national political platform, especially with plans to resume physical classes shortly after the country was hit hard by two years of coronavirus pandemic outbreaks and lockdowns.

“Our constitution does not specify any specific duties for the vice president, except as president pending and unless he or she is assigned a cabinet position,” she told reporters.

She thanked her Davao supporters and said she had decided to hold her inauguration in one of the country’s most developed cities to show her pride as a southern provincial politician who had reached a national summit.

Duterte, a mother of three, completed medical school and originally wanted to become a doctor, but later went on to study law and was persuaded to enter politics from 2007, when she was elected vice mayor and mayor of Davao three years later.

In 2011, she attracted national attention when she was caught video punching and assaulting a court sheriff who helped lead a police destruction of a slum, despite her plea for a brief reprieve. The court official suffered a black eye and facial injury and was taken to a hospital by her bodyguards.

Despite her public feuds with her father, Sara Duterte had her hair shaved a year before the 2016 election as a sign of support for his campaign.

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