We have come a long way from #DuterteSerye, #OnlyBinay, #LabanLeni, #SilentMajority, and finally, to #DU30saJune30, and during those turn of events, the presidential candidates have not been the only ones under the spotlight – their families have also been the subject of much speculation.
Despite being the first family, the Dutertes are also being kept on a close watch following Sara Duterte’s declaration of a leave of absence from July 1 until 22, not long after being sworn to office as Davao City Mayor last June 26, 2016.
The hit single
For some, Sara’s leave of absence is rather untimely since it has only been less than two weeks from the time she assumed her position as city’s chief executive.
Later on, the speculation aggravated when Sara, fondly called Inday Sara, posted an Instagram photo of herself in a recording studio stating that she will be busy with her first single called “Walang Forever”.
This quickly became viral and received varying reactions from the netizens. There were people who understood that Mayor Sara was just joking, while one particular netizen bashed her for taking a leave.
The netizen who commented had urgent concern for the welfare of Davao City. Who wouldn’t doubt a leader that files a LOA right after she assumes her position? It can be implied that the said netizen perceived Mayor Sara as a leader that quickly escaped from her duties and prioritized her concerns before the citizenry’s.
“Magtrabaho na po kayo mayor, 600 [thousand] ang bumoto po sa inyo. Instead na magtrabaho kayo, eh nung [Day One] pa lang ay leave na agad. Ang daming problema ng ating city na [kailangan solusyunan] agad,” the netizen commented.
Sara responded to this saying, “Matuto [kang] umintindi ng joke sa post at social media. Kaya nga ako nag leave kasi ayaw [kong gawin ang] personal ko na trabaho sa mga oras na [binabayaran ako] ng gobyerno.”
This was the only direct response coming from the local leader that gave a clear hint to her reason for declaring a LOA.
It was late and unofficial, but that didn’t matter to the people, Dabawenyo or not, who continually supported her amidst all the speculations. Other netizens commended the Mayor for her strong response – this upheld the popular perception of Inday as a strong and no-nonsense leader.
Though her strong character was clearly seen in her response to the netizen who criticized her leave, it also showed cracks, personal problems that weighed enough for her to take an untimely leave.
The main track
Political Science and History Department Chair Ramon Beleno III shed light on the speculations by sharing his theories and the pros and cons of Sara’s LOA in an interview.
When asked about the effects and repercussions of Sara’s LOA, he said there is “little to no effect in Davao since the politics in [the] city is a controlled environment.”
According to Beleno, who is also a political analyst, it was not a wise move for Sara to file a leave of absence because in the short run, there would be a delay in making programs and establishing her administration.
On the other hand, in the long run, he stated that the LOA is beneficial on Inday’s part because she would be able to concentrate on her work as mayor after her leave because she would have resolved her family problems.
Though Sara is on leave, she is quite active on social media when it comes to responding to people who are asking for financial aid. She gives the netizens the proper information to help them with their concerns. Some netizens found the mayor’s responses very heart-warming and this gave reassurance to those who doubted Mayor Sara’s whereabouts.
Beleno also explained that most government officials take LOAs for official and personal reasons, but Mayor Sarah has a record of filing a leave only for purely personal reasons.
“Of all Dutertes, Sara is the best family person and that has been a good basis in figuring out the reason for her leave,” he said.
The analyst expressed his concern, saying that this should be her first and last leave because people would be expecting that she has already settled down her family issues.
“Dirediretso na yung trabaho, because the 600 thousand people [who] voted for her deserve a good service from her,” Beleno said.
SAMAHAN Administrative Secretary Mina Michaela Limbaga, a second year Mass Communication student, also felt that the Mayor’s leave had little to no effect in Davao City.
“I don’t think that Mayor Sara’s LOA makes a significant difference in the overall condition of Davao at present, because the city is not in immediate danger, and there are no pressing matters that require her presence,” the student leader said.
In the mayor’s shoes, it seems better to finalize matters right away to assure a smooth term in office rather than face a battle with doubts clouding one’s mind.
The question of whether or not Sara’s leave is beneficial to the city can only be answered in the months to come. Her leadership has been questioned and defended. This issue proves the importance of questioning those seated in power – even when they come from a family much loved by the city.