By GRACE S. UDDIN
DAVAO CITY— The much-awaited showdown between Davao’s two fiercest political opponents begins as Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and daughter Sara Duterte formally declared a team up against House Speaker Prospero Nograles’ bid for mayor in the city.
Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, who runs for mayor in the city, filed both her certificate of candidacy and that of her father at 11:30 am at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) November 30, a day before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies for local candidates’ in the upcoming the 2010 elections.
Sara will run against Nograles, her father’s political rival, whose term as congressman of the city’s first district is about to end.
The elder Duterte, Sara’s father and longtime mayor of Davao City, will run as Sara’s running mate. Duterte will run against former Davao City Mayor Benjamin de Guzman, a former ally he, Duterte, once helped win against Nograles in the mayoralty race in the 1998 elections.
“It’s the first time that I will face Nograles,” Sara said. “I do not think he is the new leader he was talking about,” said Sara, reacting to Nograles’ comments that Davao City needs someone with a “new style of leadership.”
Sara called Nograles ‘a traditional politician,’ who has not changed at all despite his years in politics. “He only had more money,” she said.
On Saturday, Nograles announced his candidacy at the house of slain journalist Ferdie ‘Batman’ Lintuan in NHA Subdivision in Ma-a to remind everybody that ‘justice has not been served’ on the slain journalist. Lintuan was closely identified with Nograles and had criticized Duterte on air. ‘Bahala na si Batman’ (It’s up to Batman), Nograles’ said, referring to his chances of winning the elections.
Sara, however, did not find the statement amusing.
“Batman is already dead,” Sara said. “I do not like including names of people who are already dead.”
She said that if Nograles was referring to the cartoon character, the mayorship is a “serious” matter to be taken lightly.
“The mayorship is not fiction,” she said, “This is a reality.”
Sara said that it was only Nograles who linked the mayor to the death of Lintuan and that, it has not been proven yet that the mayor was involved. She said she knew she would be running for mayor the moment she sat as the city’s vice mayor. She said she does not consider Nograles a threat.
“I haven’t seen his strength so far,” she said, reacting to Nograles’ statement that he will focus on his strengths and not on the weaknesses of his enemy to win.
Sara was earlier told by her mother to avoid exchanging harsh words with people older than herself, like Nograles.
Mayor Duterte did not show up at the Comelec office during the filing of candidacy. Minutes after filing her certificate of candidacy (CoC), Sara was handed down the mayor’s certificate of candidacy (CoC), which she filed on his behalf. Sara said between the choices to run for vice mayor or for congressman in the Davao City first district, the mayor had opted the former because the “people still wanted him to be around the city.”
Davao City Councilor Mabel Acosta, a close ally of Duterte, will run for Congress against Nograles’ son Karlo in the Davao City first district.
Those who accompanied Sara in the filing of her certificate of candidacy included her brother Paolo Duterte, the chair of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC), her husband Lawyer Mansy Carpio; Lawyer Mylene Garcia who will run for the House of Representative in the second district, Congressman Isidro Ungab who seeks reelection as representative for the third district and several councilors under Duterte’s political group Hugpong. (Grace S. Uddin/davaotoday.com)