By Leila B. Salaverria, August 17 2018; Philippine Daily Inquirer
Image Credit to Rappler
For Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is one of the best people to represent Mindanao in the Senate.
Pimentel urged the mayor, President Duterte’s eldest daughter, to run for the Senate in next year’s elections to increase Mindanao’s representation in the chamber.
“Her experience as mayor of one of the country’s highly successful cities eminently qualifies her to speak for Mindanao, for peace and order, for the environment and for the socioeconomic upliftment of the marginalized sectors,” Pimentel said in a statement.
He made the call as he noted that the push for federalism was facing an uphill climb, given the lack of support from fellow senators and the Duterte administration’s economic managers.
The proposed federal government would have a Senate composed of lawmakers who are elected per region.
So far, the only Mindanaons in the Senate are Pimentel, who is from Cagayan de Oro; Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, who hails from Sarangani; and Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon.
Pimentel, the President’s party mate in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, is expected to seek reelection in the 2019 polls.
Having Mayor Duterte in the Senate would give Mindanao a bigger voice and influence on key national issues such as the national budget, said Pimentel.
He noted that the mayor, who founded the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, had become popular in other regions. He attributed her popularity to her “charisma and strong-willed personality.”
Duterte has said she will not run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections.
Her political plans will be known during the filing of certificates of candidacy in October.—LEILA B. SALAVERRIA