MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn up a list of possible successors that includes his daughter Sara, boxing star Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and the son of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the presidential spokesman said on Thursday.
Duterte, who is barred by the constitution from seeking re-election, will end his six-year term in June 2022. His party is encouraging him to run as vice president.
While looking at “many options”, Duterte is considering endorsing his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, champion boxer and senator Pacquiao, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso and long-time aide and senator Christopher “Bong” Go, spokesman Harry Roque said.
He did not give a reason for Duterte’s choices, but some of them have ranked high in surveys of preferred presidential candidates for an election next year.
None of the five have said they plan to run for president.
Analysts say Duterte would want an ally to win the presidency to protect him from potential legal challenges and political vendettas once he loses immunity out of office.
Duterte-Carpio declined to comment. The offices of Domagoso, Go, Marcos and Pacquiao did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Opinion polls show Duterte remains hugely popular in the Philippines, despite his controversial pro-China stance, a war on drugs that has killed thousands of suspected drug dealers, and public criticism over his government’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Karen Lema; Editing by Ed Davies)