On November 9, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte officially announced her candidacy withdrawal for her bid for reelection through her Facebook page.

“Ngayong hapon wini-withdraw ko ang aking kandidatura sa pagka-Mayor ng Davao City. Si VM Baste [Duterte] ang papalit sa akin. Ito lamang po muna. Maraming salamat po,” she said.

[This afternoon, I withdrew my candidacy for Mayor of Davao City. Vice Mayor Baste Duterte will replace me. This is all for now. Thank you.]

Following this withdrawal, groups expected the possible tandem of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte for the 2022 upcoming elections.

As of November 11, there is still no official statement from either party on the said tandem.

The deadline of filing of candidacy was on October 8. Substitutions are allowed until November 15.

Because President Rodrigo Duterte himself popularly pulled off a substitution on the eleventh hour, thereby freeing himself from more than a month’s political bickering, many candidates especially his own family members or party expected the same tact to be employed this year. The president’s party PDP-Laban fielded the elder Duterte’s close ally and first Philippine National Police chief and Oplan Tokhang author Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa as presidential candidate, but Dela Rosa said even then that it would be better if Sara Duterte would substitute for him. Several lawmakers and politicians have moved to make substitution illegal.

Martial law survivors saw the possibility of this tandem after the two met in Cebu last month confirmed by Sara in her social media posts.

“Ngayon nakikita natin ang posibilidad na mag tandem ang dalawa, anak ng diktador at anak ng kasalukuyang presidente, na may malinaw na malawakang paglabag din sa karapatang pantao at maraming isyu ng korapsyon lumilitaw sa ngayon,” said martial law survivor and Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) spokesperson Judy Taguiwalo in an interview with Manila Today.

[Now we see the possibility of the two running in tandem, son of a dictator and daughter of the current president who has a track record of widespread human rights violations and issues of corruption.]

Taguiwalo served briefly under Duterte’s cabinet as Department of Social Work and Development secretary, trying to reform and rid the agency of corruption in her short stint until the Commission of Appointments (CA) rejected her designation. At the start of Duterte’s term, he appointed progressives and non-traditional politicians to posts in his Cabinet, including the late Gina Lopez as Environment Secretary, who ordered a ban on open-pit mining and rejecting or putting on hold several large-scale mining applications. Such laudable moves have since been reversed as these appointments were not upheld by the CA.

On November 9, CARMMA along with Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) trooped to the Supreme Court to appeal for the affirmation of the late dictator’s wife Imelda Marcos graft conviction by the Sandiganbayan three years since the decision was handed down. The former first lady appealed her conviction and posted P300,000 in bail, seeing not one minute in jail.

The graft ruling was related to illegal bank transfers made by Imelda to Swiss foundations during her term as a government official under her husband’s regime.

“Wag manloko yung kampo ng mga Marcos, wag linlangin ang taong bayan […] kapag ikaw ay convicted hindi ka pwede ihalal hindi ka pwedeng iboto at hindi ka pwedeng umupo sa anumang public office.” said another martial law survivor and SELDA vice chairman Danilo Dela Fuente.

[The Marcoses should not try to deceive the people. If you have been convicted, you should not be able to run or be elected or assume a post in public office.]

Programs against historical distortion on atrocities under the Marcoses

These groups of martial law victims and survivors have made efforts to educate the people against misinformation and any historical distortions on martial law and the cases of the Marcoses.

“May mga plano kami na merong serye ng pag aaral at tsaka paglilinaw sa mga usapin conviction ni Imelda, [at] conviction ni Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr,” Dela Fuente shared.

[We have plans, we have a series of studies and clarifications of on the conviction of Imelda and Bongbong.]

Dela Fuente stated that the group has already started their educational series in different communities through conducting talks in public places and giving pamphlets and flyers.

On the other hand, Taguiwalo emphasized the possible consequences should another Marcos hold the highest seat in government. It will neglect the narratives of the many people suffered during the martial law, she said.

“Ito ‘yong dapat nating harapin, dahil sampal ito sa mga martir natin. Maraming namatay na mga kabataang estudyante, mga magsasaka, mga katutubo, mga manggagawa, mga kababaihan, mga propesyonal,[…] mga pari at madre na pinaslang, nawala , natorture, sa panahon ng diktadurang Marcos. Kung makabalik sila sa pwesto, buburahin nila ang ganung pagkilala ng mga bayani natin na lumaban sa diktadura. Kaya talagang dapat ubos lakas talaga na tutulan labanan ang panumbalik nila sa pwesto at patuloy na ilantad ang madilim na pangyayari sa panahon na yun,” she discussed.

[We need to face this, because this will be a slap to our martyrs. A lot of students, farmers, indigenous people, workers, women, professionals died, priests and nuns who were killed, disappeared or tortured during the Marcos dictatorship. If they will return to power, they will erase the recognition for the martyrs who fought the dictatorship. We need to exhause our energies to protest, fight the return of Marcoses to power and continue to expose the dark circumstances during that period.]

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