DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Tuesday withdrew her mayoral candidacy, only hours after her younger brother, Sebastian, withdrew his candidacy for vice mayor.

This has spiked political buzz that only hours earlier shot up astronomically when her brother filed his withdrawal.

This has fueled the political buzz that only hours earlier shot up astronomically when her brother filed his withdrawal, with speculations swirling that the strong-willed mayor will run for president in 2022, either running under her party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), or she can substitute for one of the aspirants who are allied with her father.  President Duterte has openly sought to persuade his daughter to run, but she has repeatedly said she would rather seek reelection as mayor.

Her father’s partymate and long-time aide when he was still Davao’s mayor, Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, had filed his certificate of candidacy for president at the last minute on October 8, fueling suspicion he was a “placeholder” candidate of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing. 

“This afternoon I am withdrawing my candidacy for Mayor of Davao City. VM Baste will replace me. Atty. Melchor Quitain our Vice Mayor nominee. Just this for now. Thank you very much,” she said in her Facebook official page.

Sara has been wooed over to run for President but earlier nailed her decision as final on not to run.

Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony del Rosario, spokesman of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago parried off inquiry from BusinessMirror, saying “no comment” to questions on whether or not the party knew of yesterday’s withdrawal of the candidacies of the Duterte siblings.

Sara Duterte is chairman of HNP.

Del Rosario also declined to give information on the next move of the HNP in the next few hours.

In a post on Tuesday morning by the government television news unit, PTV, it said, “Just in: VM Baste, Nagwithdraw sa iyang coc [withdrew his certificate of candidacy] Con [Councilor] has confirmed it. Melchor Jay Quitain Jr. In PTV News Mindanao, Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte withdrew his candidacy as Vice Mayor in Davao City this morning in Comelec-Davao City.”

The PTV post quoted Quitain as saying that “Comelec people” confirmed him about the withdrawal.

City Hall insiders said Baste personally went to the Comelec office inside Magsaysay Park and withdrew his candidacy at 10.36 am.

Meanwhile, the Office of Mayor Sara Duterte announced it has terminated the services of the Chief Information Officer, Jefry Tupas, after his name figured in a Sunday night raid of an exclusive party in a posh resort in PIndasan, Mabini, Davao de Oro.

“The former City Information Officer, Jefry Tupas, of the City Government of Davao was involved in a drug raid last November 6 in the Municipality of Mabini, Province of Davao de Oro. The details of the raid are known only to the PDEA officers in Davao de Oro and Ms. Tupas. Last Sunday, Jefry signified his resignation and on the same moment he was informed that he is terminated from work with the City Government of Davao,” the City Mayor’s Office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tupas clarified he left the party one hour before the raid to ensure that he would not be late on his daily work at the City Hall. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested 17 persons, mostly young professionals, and confiscated P1.5 million worth of party drugs. The PDEA said it conducted a buy-bust operation on the birthday celebrant, 33-year-old Revsan Ethelbert P. Elizalde.

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