The sphinx that is Sara Duterte

The sphinx that is Sara Duterte


Will she respond to the voice of the people? Will she accept the challenge to lead the country hurled to her by the gods of destiny?

Will she fulfill her appointment with history?

The clock is ticking.”

(photo credit to owner)

This is a repost of the article published in The Daily Tribune last October, 17, 2021 and was written by Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo.

In the said article he discusses the salient points where the first idea of Inday Sara following the footsteps of her father- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Malacanang palace.

For purposes of transparency, clarity and truthfulness, we have quoted in full said article for the your viewing reference:


The sphinx that is Sara Duterte



Webster Dictionary says a sphinx is “an enigmatic or mysterious person.” Stated differently, such person is a puzzle.

For an individual who is known for her transparency and frankness, the pretty, amiable, intelligent and soft-spoken Mayor of Davao City, Sara Zimmerman Duterte is a puzzler.

She is reserved yet feisty. She is sweet and charming, yet when provoked, she becomes a roaring tigress.

She melts at the sight of special children, yet she can be freezing cold at the entreaties of others.

She responds to succor the oppressive plight of the untrodden, but she is deaf to the supplications of a multitude.

She is a loving daughter, yet she can be a defiant immovable heir.

The walking enigma that is Sara is no more pronounced than in her present political odyssey to the presidency that commenced like a shooting star blazing in flames, illuminating the dark horizon, only to sputter and fade abruptly.

Four years ago, before a crowd of overseas workers in Hong Kong, accompanied by former Special Envoy to China and Japan, Ferdinand “Ding” Borja, this writer planted the seeds of a presidential run of Inday Sara.

The OFW were tickled pink by the idea of the President’s daughter succeeding her father after the latter ends his term.

Certainly, a daughter or a son becoming the country’s president just like their parent is not a novel idea. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo followed the footsteps of her dad, President Diosdado Macapagal. So did Benigno Aquino III vice the late President Corazon Aquino.

The idea of Mayor Sara gunning for the presidency was followed by enticing statements coming from me as then spokesperson, as well as a constant interesting subject in my TV and Facebook Counterpoint show as chief presidential legal counsel.

As I recall, in 2008 when I launched “Run, Duterte, Run” in public utterances, I was all alone like Don Quixote fighting the windmills by my lonesome. The one-man crusade was met either with bewilderment or derision. Not unsurprising though, after all, no relatively unknown city mayor in our political history has been elected president of the Republic.

After an unrelenting and frustrating solo propagation of a Duterte presidency in various fora from 2008 to 2013, “Run, Duterte, Run” struck a chord among civic-conscious individuals who, fed up with unbridled corruption, increasing and unstoppable criminality, a creeping drug menace threatening a new generation and enslaving a substantial number of the population, not to mention the escalating unemployed and hiking poverty level, joined the movement in surprising harmony to propel then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte to the highest seat of political power.

In 2014, the increased number of “Run, Duterte, Run” propagators sparked a resounding clamor from the people that galvanized an unstoppable movement that culminated in 2016 to an overwhelming victory by Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the maverick president with an iron political will.

Unlike the road leading to the Duterte presidency, which was paved with agonizing uncertainties and imponderables, the Sara Duterte saga has a shorter incubation period owing unquestionably to the Duterte magic, plus her own brand of political leadership, akin to a cobra, quiet and deadly.

The reaction of Inday Sara to the growing political enticement for her to seek the presidency was one of pleasure and reluctance. She was neither here nor there, a classic political Mona Lisa. Her smile was as enigmatic as her pronouncements.

Initially, she maintained a non-committal stance, then she eased it by leaving the door ajar by issuing a statement that she was open to it and she would make a series of consultations with various sectors.

Meanwhile, 700 parallel organizations around the country worked in a frenzy to strengthen the political alliances of those groups pushing Inday Sara to get her approbation to the cacophony of roaring voices urging her to run for president.

Then to the consternation, shock, disappointment and disbelief of millions of her followers, she let out a bombshell!

She issued a statement, saying since her father had already accepted the nomination of the PDP Laban to run for vice president, she had foreclosed the probability of seeking the highest post of the land, reasoning that she and her father agreed that only one Duterte should run for a national position.

What followed was a series of urgings and pleadings from the suddenly orphaned millions of Sara supporters for her to reconsider her decision.

The daughter’s father, always mindful and sensitive to the pulse of the people, gave an unexpected withdrawal of his vice-presidential candidacy, announcing his retirement from politics.

Such selfless move of the President unlocked the door Sara herself closed.

The circumstance she imposed on herself, which is not running for president if PRRD will run for president, no longer being present, the ball is now in her hands.

Her millions of countrymen rooting for her await with bated breath her decision.

Survey after survey placed her on top as the preferred choice to be the next president of the Republic.

Beyond cavil, Sara Duterte has the presidency for the taking.

Will she respond to the voice of the people? Will she accept the challenge to lead the country hurled to her by the gods of destiny?

Will she fulfill her appointment with history?

The clock is ticking.







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Report from Daily Tribune


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