Sara Duterte, Manny Pacquiao Top Poll for Philippines’ Next President

The daughter of current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Sara Duterte, is the Philippines’ top choice for president in 2022, followed closely by boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao, according to a recent survey conducted by the Philippine polling firm OCTA Research.

OCTA surveyed 1,200 Filipinos face-to-face from January 26 to February 1, asking them which presidential candidate they would vote for if the Philippines’ next general election, slated for May 2022, were held today.

About 22 percent of respondents answered Sara Duterte for president, followed by “Sen. Grace Poe with 13 percent, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos with 12 percent each, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno with 11 percent,” CNN Philippines reported on February 23.

Sara Duterte currently serves as the mayor of Davao City on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao — a post her father Rodrigo Duterte held for decades before being elected president of the Philippines in 2016 — while Pacquiao is known globally as a legendary and still-active professional boxer. Rodrigo Duterte has previously expressed a desire for Pacquiao, a close ally of the president, to succeed him as the Philippines’ top leader.

“I told him while we were alone, I want you to become president,” Duterte said during a speech at Pacquiao’s 39th birthday party in Manila in December 2017.

Pacquiao was elected president of the Philippines’ ruling political party PDP-LABAN on December 2 in what observers viewed as a preparatory step towards his rumored run for president in 2022. Sara Duterte told Reuters last month that she did not plan on running for president of the Philippines in 2022, despite persistent speculation that she will succeed her father in the role. The president of the Philippines is elected to a single, six-year term, meaning Rodrigo Duterte is ineligible to run for re-election after his term ends in May 2022.

“I am not being coy nor am I doing a ‘last-minute,’” Sara Duterte wrote in a text message to Reuters on January 14.

“If the whole country does not want to believe (this) then I can’t do anything about it. Not everyone wants to be president. I am one of them,” she said.

“I thank all of them for their trust and confidence in what I can do but my refusal to run for president is not the end of the world,” Sara added.

Reporters asked Pacquaio if he plans to run for president of the Philippines in 2022 at a press conference held shortly after he was sworn as PDP-Laban’s new leader on December 2.

“Let’s not talk politics. We should focus on helping our hungry countrymen, the poor and [those who] have no shelter. The elections are still far away, let’s not talk about it,” Pacquiao replied.

“To be given this rare opportunity to lead the PDP-Laban is an immense honor and responsibility. By God’s grace, I will not waste this platform that you have entrusted me [with],” the senator said elsewhere during the press briefing.

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