MANILA, Philippines ( Associated Press) — Sarah Duterte, the daughter of the Philippines’ outgoing populist president, was sworn in as vice president on Sunday, after a resounding election victory that killed thousands of drug suspects despite her father’s human rights record.
The inauguration in his southern hometown of Davao, where he is the outgoing mayor, comes two weeks before he takes office on June 30, as specified in the Philippine constitution. Duterte’s current partner, President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., will be sworn in in Manila on June 30.
President Rodrigo Duterte, 77, led VIPs to a heavily-protected ceremony at a public square in the port city of Davao, where he also served as mayor for a long time in the late 1980s. Hailing from a middle-class background, his family has built a formidable political dynasty in the troubled southern region, long plagued by communist and Muslim insurgency and violent political rivalry.
Duterte’s presidency has been marked by a brutal anti-drug campaign that has seen thousands of mostly petty drug runners shot by police or vigilantes. He is being investigated for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.
The electoral victories of Sarah Duterte and Marcos Jr. have left leftists and human rights groups concerned as they have failed to acknowledge the massive human rights atrocities committed under their father, including the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos Jr. and Sarah Duterte campaigned on an obscure platform of national unity, without explicitly addressing activists’ calls to step in to prosecute the elder Duterte when he retired from politics.
One of the president’s sons, Sebastian Duterte, would succeed his sister as Davao mayor, and another son, Paolo Duterte, won a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 9 elections. The late father of the outgoing president was a former governor of Davao.
Philippine elections have long been dominated by politicians belonging to the same bloodshed. At least 250 political families have monopolized power across the country, although such dynasties are prohibited under the constitution. Congress – long controlled by members of powerful clans targeted by constitutional restrictions – has failed to pass the legislation needed to define and enforce the provision.
While 44-year-old Sarah Duterte has denied the presidency sought by her father and supporters, she has not ruled out participating in the future. He topped the pre-election poll for the presidency last year and won by a huge margin like Marcos Jr.
In addition to the vice president, she has agreed to serve as Secretary of Education, although there were discussions that her initial priority was to head the Department of National Defense, a traditional springboard to the presidency.
Still, the education portfolio will provide him with his first often-problematic national political platform, especially with plans to resume physical classes soon after the country has been hit hard by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and two years of lockdown.
“Our constitution does not specify any special function other than being the president in wait for the vice-president and when he is entrusted with the cabinet office,” he told reporters.
He thanked his Davao supporters and said he decided to inaugurate himself in one of the country’s most developed cities to show his pride as a southern provincial politician who rose to a top national position.
A mother of three, Duterte completed a medical course and originally wanted to become a doctor, but later studied law and entered politics in 2007, when she was appointed deputy mayor and mayor of Davao three years later. as selected.
In 2011, she gained national attention when she was caught on video punching and assaulting a court sheriff who was helping lead a police demolition of a slum community, despite her plea for a brief adjournment. The court officer suffered a black eye and facial injuries and was taken to hospital by his bodyguards.
Despite public feuds with her father, Sarah Duterte shaved her hair a year before the 2016 elections to support her campaign.