DAVAO CITY/TANDAG CITY/MANILA – It appears that it will be Vice President Leonor Leni Robredo against presidential daughter Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the 2022 presidential elections.

This as supporters of both officials have started flexing their muscles to promote the possible candidacy of the two women leaders of the country even as the two leaders remain coy possible candidacy for president.

In Cebu City, several groups have come out in the open supporting the bid of Robredo while in Quezon City, calendars and other materials suddenly surfaced in support of Mayor Duterte.

In Sorsogon City, meanwhile, Governor Francis “Chis” Escudero were being pushed by Bicolanos to run for president but the former senator declined.

Robredo and Duterte, both lawyers, have remained mum on their political plans.

Robredo said her priority is how to make full use of her remaining months of office in the service of the people.

President Rodrigo Duterte continued to dissuade her daughter from running for president, saying it is a difficult job and not carved out for a woman.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec), meanwhile, has started preparations for the 2022 elections, and also started looking into ways to push through the polls through the extraordinary times of Covid pandemic.

The Comelec is looking into voting by internet and moving the elections from small public school classrooms to covered courts and school halls  as government seeks to ensure the exercise would not become a COVID-19 super spreader event.

Polling places will look “very different” because of the continuing pandemic, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said. Mass gatherings are still barred over a year into the pandemic as cases continue to rise in the country.

“The first thing you are going to see differently is ‘yung itsura ng entrance. Meron na tayong control diyan. May nakabantay, may temperature check,” he said.

Aside from casting votes in spacious areas like school gyms and auditoria, voters should expect to see more polling precincts next year, the Comelec spokesperson said.

Davao City Mayor Sara has emerged as the top choice for both President and Vice President in the 2022 elections if a survey is to be the gauge.
The same survey showed those who followed Mayor Duterte were Senators Mary Grace Poe and Emmanuel Pacquiao, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr,. Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
In the vice-presidential race, Duterte-Carpio and Domagoso are in a statistical tie for number 1 at 14 and 11 percent respectively, followed by Pacquiao, Poe, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Sotto, Marcos, Go, and Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero.
Mayor Duterte, however, said she will not run for President in the May 2022 elections to succeed her father who will vow out of office on June 30, 2022.
Mayor Duterte, meanwhile, barred her supporters in Davao City from organizing motorcades prodding her to run for president in 2022.
The feisty lady mayor told organizers to better save the fuel of their vehicles for some other essential purposes because she is firm in her decision not to run in the upcoming elections.
The mayor also ordered the removal of tarpaulins, posters, and billboards with the text “Run, Sara, Run,” mounted by her supporters in some parts of the city.
In the Tugon Ng Masa (Pulse of the Masses) national survey from January 26 to February 1, Octa Research said Duterte-Carpio was on top with an average of 22 percent, with the highest support coming from Mindanao at 48 percent and socio-economic class E at 24 percent.
In Tandag City in Surigao del Sur during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s inspection and assessment of typhoon damage in Caraga region, the Chief Executive again stressed that he is opposed to the idea of letting his daughter join the 2022 presidential derby.
Duterte was responding to Surigao del Sur Governor Alexander Pimentel who urged the President to convince either his daughter or his former long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, to run for president in 2022.
 “Inday Sara is not running. I have really, really put my foot down,” President Duterte said.
Governor Pimentel told Duterte that Sara and Go could continue the President’s legacy.
“Ang request po namin, may continuity. Dapat isa sa administration ang ko-continue lahat nang ginagawa niyo po, lahat ng achievement (Our request is there should be continuity. One of the administration allies should continue all your achievements),” Pimentel said.
Pimentel also warned Duterte that his accomplishments would go to waste, in case his successor comes from the opposition.
“Kasi baka kung iba ang Presidente, tanggalin lahat iyan. Papaano na kami? Kailangan may continuity. So, kailangan kumbinsihin natin si Inday Sara or Senator Bong Go (If the next president belongs to the opposition, they would ignore your accomplishments. How about us? There should be continuity. So we should convince Inday Sara or Senator Bong Go),” he said.
Duterte said he could not afford to see his daughter indulge in “dirty politics.”
Sara, he said, might only be subjected to harassment by his critics, including former senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Naaawa ako sa anak ko. Ang pulitika dito sa Pili(pinas), kababuyan. Lalo na si Trillanes (I pity my daughter. Politics in the Philippines is dirty, especially if there is someone like Trillanes),” Duterte said. “Be careful of Trillanes. Magbantay (Be mindful). He will sell you to the devil pag ‘yan ang nakaupo. Patay (He will sell you to the devil if he sits in government. That’s a disaster),” said the Chief Executive.
Tarpaulins with bold letters “Sara, Run, Sara” have sprouted in different parts of the country, including Davao City and Metro Manila.
Despite mounting calls for her to run, Sara has repeatedly said she has no plan to run for president in 2022.
She told her supporters that she might only be convinced to seek the presidency by 2034, if at that time there is something (she) can do to help the country.”
The President has repeatedly discouraged Sara from pursuing the presidential bid, as he wants to spare her the difficulty of being the country’s chief executive. (with Jeanne Michael Penaranda)