2022 Top Women Presidentiables: Sara Duterte vs. Leni Robredo

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After a year and a half from now, tables will start turning again. With the constant backlash being thrown to the government, many Filipino activists and even common citizens and celebrities are looking forward to the 2022 presidential elections. Many people are expecting a surprising turn of events and people are in a rush for a new administration.

Speculations about the presidentiables started brewing and two women are claiming the spotlight in a male-dominant political world. The most formidable women in the list are Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte a.k.a. Inday Sara and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo. The two have a strong political background and have solid supporters which makes them both winnable. Their influence and powerful political figure elucidate their potential to run for the presidency.

To help you decide who is going to be your bet between the two if ever they run for the post, catch a glimpse of the background of the two possible women presidentiables.

Sara Duterte: The Presidential Daughter

Inday Sara is making headlines as she topped the early pick for potential presidential bets based on the Pulse Asia survey that was released last January 12. Her big dream is to be a pediatrician but ended up following the path of his father when she entered politics in 2007 as the vice-mayor of Davao City. Her political ambition started when she became a lawyer by profession. She served in local NGOs from which she centered her service in fighting for women’s rights.

Carrying the trademark of Dutertes, Inday Sara is known to be tough-spoken, firm with her stand and decision, and has an empowered character. Probably, she also got these traits because she also became a full-fledged colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As she started practicing law and became reserved in AFP, she was already crafting her own identity not just by being the daughter of the well-known family in their city.

Moreover, this woman also tends to be rowdy when one time, she punched a sheriff because the latter keeps on insisting to have a demolition but she did not want to because it is going to be a bloody one. This incident also made its way to headlines.

With her resisting personality, she breaks the notion that a woman should be fine and finesse for she proves that a woman could be dominant, tough, and stern.

Leadership Experience

In her political milestone, Inday Sara has already a lot to prove in her leadership experiences. From wanting to be a pediatrician at first, she ended up putting down her foot in serving the masses. It originated from her passion to serve the public which started from her fight for women’s rights when she became a lawyer. When she decided to enter politics, she stood out as being a woman in power and paved her way to carving her name through her efforts.

Here is a glance at her quite a few but impressive leadership experience:

  • 2007 – She was first introduced to politics when she strived as a running mate of her father and won as a vice mayor of Davao City. This year served as her stepping stone to her political journey.
  • 2010 – Proving her leadership once again, she was hailed as the first woman mayor of Davao City and at the age of 31, she was recorded as the youngest elected mayor in Philippine history.
  • 2014 – Aside from being a politician, she is also a humanitarian. She became one of the nine elected governors of the Philippine Red Cross and was committed to providing quality life-saving services to Filipinos.
  • 2016 – She won the seat of becoming the Davao City mayor for the second time and people speak about her good deeds as the leader of the city. She maintained Davao City as the socio-economic powerhouse in the country. No bad thing was spoken against her at all.
  • 2018 – She became the House Speaker of the Senate through her political party “Hukbo ng Pagbabago.”
  • 2020 – She fled to the U.S. to work with allies to establish an anti-terrorism leadership program despite her father’s tirades against the Philippine-US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). In the same year, she became an Army Reserve colonel in AFP.

Inday Sara’s political background and the journey is quite different from her father’s, proving that she is more than her father’s daughter. She is not herself today just because she is a Duterte but because she made her name in politics through her exemplary leadership skills. Even VP Leni Robredo was impressed by Inday Sara’s good work as a leader.

She is a woman who has a strong political will. She can be compared to Beth Harmon, the main character of Queen’s Gambit, who once proved that you should never apologize for your ambition in a male-dominant game just because you are a woman.

Sara Duterte Profile Summary

Birth nameSara Zimmerman Duterte
Date of birthMay 31, 1978
Place of birthDavao City, Philippines
ParentsElizabeth Zimmerman and Rodrigo Duterte
SpouseManases “Mans” Carpio
No. of children3
Educational backgroundSan Pedro College – Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy, 1991; San Sebastian College – Recoletos – Law Degree, 2005
Political Career2007-2010 – Davao City Vice Mayor 2010-2013, 2016-Present – Davao City Mayor

Leni Robredo: The Widow in Yellow

Yellow is the color that has been associated with the incumbent Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo. She is under the political party “Liberal Party” during the 2016 elections. She was tagged as the “Widow in Yellow” and another yellow who vied against another Marcos – a comparison with former president Cory Aquino who also carried the same color, a widow, and replaced a Marcos in the presidential seat.

When her husband Jesse Robredo, the former DILG secretary, died in a plane crash in 2012, there is a strong clamor for Leni to enter politics. She brushed off the strong call at first but was later persuaded and even became the vice president of the Philippines. She first became the congresswoman of Naga City and this political victory ended the 40-year stint of the Villafuerte clan in their district.

Her political journey comes with big waves ever since she started and even until now. She is constantly being attacked by trolls on the Internet and even creating fake news about her. She is always a target of criticisms, especially of Duterte supporters. Even so, she was not stirred from the attacks under fake social media accounts. She is continuously serving Filipinos even though Duterte did not appoint her to Cabinet post.

Robredo, despite personal attacks against her, did not settle for a waterloo. Instead, she braved her way in pushing laws and systems to fight for the rights of people who are at the seams of our society.

Leadership Experience

Even before Robredo gained local and national recognition, she’s already been in the public service. Her heart to serve the marginalized started before she entered politics and her reach widened when the turning point of her life commenced after the death of her husband who had been an image of a good public servant.

Here are the fast facts as we keep track of her milestones as a leader:

  • 1989 – She founded the “Lakas ng Kababaihan ng Naga Federation” which aims to provide training and livelihood programs for women.
  • 1996 – Practicing her profession as a lawyer, she became a public attorney in Naga and initiated organizations and programs for the marginalized sectors.
  • 2007 – To reach remote areas with limited access to legal services, she became a coordinator of the private group Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligan (SALIGAN). Through this organization, they won the case for the Sumilao Farmers in Bukidnon.
  • 2012 – She became the chairperson of the Liberal Party in Camarines Sur.
  • 2013 – She overthrew the 40-year stint of the Villafuerte clan when she won as the congresswoman in the 3rd district of CamSur. During the first year of being a representative, she filed her first bill “Full Disclosure Act of 2013” which aims to reveal the financial transactions of public servants.
  • 2015 – In the second year of her term as CamSur representative, she already filed 110 bills, 24 of which as the principal author. Among these are the Full Disclosure Act of 2013, the People Empowerment Bill of 2014, and the Tax Incentives Transparency Bill.
  • 2016 – She took her oath as the 14th incumbent Vice President of the Philippines as she won against Bong Bong Marcos. In the same year, she first launched the “Angat Buhay” program which aims to eradicate poverty which provided P145 million worth of services in 2017 and reached 224,000 poor families in 2019.
  • 2019 – She was appointed by Duterte as the chairperson of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. She was also assigned as a drug czar or as a co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) but was fired by Duterte within the same month.
  • 2020 – She received the “Honorary Outstanding Women Award of Southeast Asia” in Bangko, Thailand, and was hailed as the “Most Influential Filipina Woman of the World Award” by the Filipina Women’s Network. She also organized the Partnerships Against Poverty Summit attended by local and international organizations.
  • 2020 – present – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been mobilizing the Office of the Vice President to provide relief operations, and provide free shuttles for health workers, distribute PPEs and food packs to frontliners. She also initiated fundraising drives for the typhoon victims last year.

Despite the criticisms and hate thrown at her, she redeemed herself by proving that she is Leni Robredo not just because of her late husband Jesse Robredo but because of her impressive leadership stunts.

She proves that a leader does not need to be tough and strict but instead needs to be empathetic to understand the situation of the people who are on the fringes of society.

Leni Robredo Profile Summary

Birth nameMaria Leonor Gerona Robredo
Date of birthApril 23, 1965
Place of birthNaga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines
ParentsAntonio Gerona and Salvacion Gerona
SpouseJesse Manalastas Robredo
No. of children3
Educational backgroundUniversity of the Philippines – Diliman – Economics Degree, 1986 University of Nueva Caceres – Naga – Law Degree, 1990 San Beda College – Master’s Degree in Law
Political Career2013 – 2015 Camarines Sur representative 2016-present – Vice President of the Philippines

Sara Duterte vs Leni Robredo

Both of them have their strong points and the leadership that they have as women are splendid. They lead people and initiate programs for the betterment of the people in the community. They have more similarities than differences that is why contrasting them only leads you to a very few key differences.

 Inday SaraLeni
  Personality  She is known as having a tough and authoritative personality.  She is known as calm and soft-spoken and does not settle into an iron-clad type of leadership.  
  Focus of Service    She is known to be in good leadership because she continuously leads the improvement of the socio-economic power of their city and focuses on leadership programs related to anti-terrorism. She also subscribes to a job with military nature as she was proclaimed as a reserved army colonel in AFP.    She focuses on launching anti-poverty and livelihood programs, establishing groups that give free legal services, and initiate fundraising drives for victims of calamities.  
  Political Background    Politics run in her blood because she belongs in the dynastic family in Davao City.    She does not have a strong political background and just decided to enter politics when she was persuaded by the people in CamSur.  
  Leadership Experience    She started her public service as a lawyer who fights for women’s rights.      She started her public service as a founder of the “Lakas ng Kababaihan ng Naga Federation” which provides livelihood programs for women.  

The competition arising between the two powerful women in politics is like a tough fistfight. It is hard to determine who could claim the electoral triumph because the margin is too close. Even though the Inday Sara claimed that she will not run for the presidency, she is still considered as one of the presidentiables because people cannot drop the possibility yet since his father Rodrigo Duterte also claimed that he will not run but did so anyway and even won the presidency.

These two images of women with ambition surpassed the notion that they are just known because of the names of men attached to them – her father for Inday Sara and her husband for Leni. They proved their capabilities as women through their impressive leadership.

With their superb achievements and leadership experiences, the great question lingers…

 “Who is going to be the last woman standing in the 2022 presidential elections?”

We never know, but in this patriarchal society, MAY THE BEST WOMAN WIN.

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