DAVAO CITY - Mayor Sara Z. Duterte on Tuesday afternoon withdrew her re-election bid and named her brother, Vice Mayor Sebastian "Baste" Duterte, as her substitute.
In a Facebook post, the presidential daughter said her brother, who has also officially backed out of the vice mayoral race, will now be substituted by lawyer Melchor Quitain Jr.
“This is all for now. Thank you very much,” Sara added.
Around 13 minutes after her announcement on her Facebook account, more than 11,000 netizens commented and 30,000 have already shared the post. The netizens expressed excitement and happiness about the presidential daughter’s decision.
Like his sister, Baste announced his withdrawal via Facebook and thanked the Dabawenyos for the support they have given him. He later proceeded to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office here to withdraw his candidacy right after his sister's own withdrawal.
“I have filed my withdrawal as Vice Mayor candidate of Davao City. I hereby nominate Atty. Melchor Quitain Jr. as my substitute,” he said.
“I am deeply grateful to the Dabawenyos for the support they have given me all this time. I have no other details to share at the moment. Thank you,” he added.
It can be recalled that Baste filed his certificate of candidacy for the vice mayoral post at the Comelec office on October 3.
For his part, Quitain said Baste's decision to pick him as his substitute came as a surprise.
“I was advised by VM to substitute him yesterday (Nov. 8). It was very short notice and even up to now I still can’t believe what had happened,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
“I thought that I have a problem with my ear and I’m not sure if I heard him right. It is like that time stood still, I become deaf and I cannot believe it. It’s the first time that I felt such excitement and at the same time fear,” Quitain added.
He thanked the Vice Mayor for the trust and the opportunity he gave him.
“It’s really an honor I thank him personally but I’m not sure if ‘thank you’ is even enough for the opportunity that he has given me,” Quitain said.
Without an adversary for the 2022 elections, Quitain said he has very big shoes to fill as he cited that four Dutertes have previously served as the vice mayor of the city.
“As of now, I can’t think of changes or improvement because they have done a really excellent job running the City Council. I will just try to equal and maintain what they have started,” he added.
Quitain is the City Council's majority floor leader and has served six years as a councilor of the first district.
In an interview on Monday (November 8), Davao de Oro Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy and the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) treasurer told the PNA that he was optimistic that Mayor Sara will take on the challenge and run for president in the coming 2022 polls.
“According to her last statement that she decided not to run, I will still wait until November 15. Knowing Mayor Inday, she is a strong-minded person she knows what she’s doing and I just hope there’s a miracle to happen,” he said.
Uy also said that as a Duterte ally, he believed that the people is waiting for her decision and they are hopeful that she will heed their call.
Last week, Duterte has appealed to her supporters to cancel their planned Cotabato to Manila caravan from November 4 to 15.
“I am respectfully appealing to the organizers of Sara All Philippines 2022 to forego the planned Cotabato to Manila caravan from November 4 to 15,” Duterte said in her official Facebook account.
Local convenors of the "Run, Sara, Run" here have earlier planned to hold a grand caravan in Pasay City from November 14 to 15 to further urge Mayor Sara to run for president in the 2022 polls.
Sara reiterated that the caravan was unnecessary because a decision had already been made public as early as September 10 that she is not running for President. (PNA)