Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned his eldest daughter against running for president in 2022, saying the office would “destroy” her.
Sara Duterte, mayor of the president’s home city of Davao in the southern region of Mindanao, has gained traction as a possible frontrunner in the next presidential election.
The mayor has not confirmed her plans, but she formed a political coalition called Hugpong ng Pagbabago, or Faction for Change, that endorsed 13 candidates for the Senate in mid-term elections that were being held across the Philippines on Monday.
Eleven of the candidates were expected to win in the polls.
“Inday, I’m publicly warning (you),” Duterte told reporters after casting his vote, calling his daughter by her nickname.
“The presidency will not educate you, it will just destroy you,” he added.
The 74-year-old leader, whose six-year term ends in 2022, acknowledged that Monday’s election could very well be a referendum on his first three years as president.
“If you agree with me, then you vote for my candidates or the people I’m supporting these elections,” he said, less than one hour before voting was scheduled to close nationwide.
“Now if I’m repudiated by the loss of all candidates coming from the Hugpong slate, that would indicate the majority of people do not like me,” he added.
Filipinos have cast their ballots for more than 18,000 officials ranging from municipal counsellors to senators in the mid-term elections.
The most crucial race was for 12 seats in the 24-member Senate, considered as the last bastion of opposition against Duterte and his policies.
Surveys show that Duterte’s allies and candidates will sweep the race, with only one candidate from the opposition projected to win.