Why they are all afraid of Sara Duterte-Carpio

By Alex P. Vidal

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”—Plato

ANYBODY who will name a Filipino politician today—especially an incumbent mayor, governor, representative, senator—that is not afraid of Vice President Sara “Inday Sara” Duterte-Carpio, is either was born only yesterday, or didn’t study or follow the incredible Philippine politics in the last 12 years.

Twelve years ago, Mrs. Duterte-Carpio, who concurrently sits as Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, hogged the headlines when, as mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, punched several times a court sheriff in full view of residents and reporters for ignoring her request to delay the demolition of the houses owned by informal settlers in one village.

But that’s not the main reason why we think most incumbent politicians today shake in their boots when they deal with the daughter of the most feared president to ever hold office in Malacañang.

It’s because of her maiden name: Duterte.

We all know that if she was not the daughter of her father and at that time the highest elected politician in Davao City, then Mayor Duterte-Carpio wouldn’t even dare to chide the court sheriff in public.

Many Filipino politicians are really showy and behave like brats in public—especially when they aspire for higher elective positions in government.


In the case of Mrs. Carpio-Duterte, it is rumored that even her own loquacious and hard-hitting father is afraid of her.

Just take a look at how she behaved and listen to the words she’d spoken days before announcing she was running for vice president alongside then standard bearer and now President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Father Duterte, who wanted the daughter to shoot straight for the presidency, couldn’t stop the daughter from “demoting” herself as she settled for the vice presidency.

But let’s go straight to the point without beating the bush. What are or were the signs that apparently the present set of politicians holding national portfolios are “afraid” of the vice president?

Simple. Vice President Duterte-Carpio gets what she wants in this present administration.

Even without dancing like Salome, she could demand for the beheading of not only one but many John the Baptists.

Already the Office of the Vice President has successfully amassed P150 million worth of “intelligence fund” in 2022. As if the initial amount of taxpayers money being inappropriately set aside wasn’t horrifying, to say the least, Mrs. Duterte-Carpio’s office again was able to collect P500 million in “intelligence fund”, among other expenses, this year.

To make the badly abused taxpayers puke some more, the Office of the Vice President is again reportedly proposing the same amount (P500 million) for “intelligence fund”, among other expenses, in 2024.

And we haven’t discussed yet the gargantuan and shocking budget she asked and got as DepEd secretary for the same dog: “intelligence fund”, which, luckily, is now slowly (and let’s hope the worried senators can sustain it) gathering some storm of scrutiny in the legislature.


Vice President Duterte-Carpio got the windfall or managed to wrap up the “pennies from heaven” for her office with ease sans any desolation and opposition.

It’s because, as what the title of this article has emphasized, “they are all (apparently) afraid of Sara Carpio-Duterte.”

If they are vigilant and intrepid, the lawmakers, through check and balance, have the power and authority to derail if not stop this wanton abuse and “waste” of the taxpayers money by the Office of the Vice President and DepEd under Mrs. Duterte-Carpio via the guise of “intelligence fund” that is not covered by any audit report.

Without the Commission on Audit prying over the intelligence fund, it was feared that past beneficiaries of this ridiculous expenditure were able to enrich themselves by pocketing a hefty portion of the total budget. This is reportedly an old practice that is only being revived by unscrupulous public officials.

During the House and Senate budget committee hearings, the lawmakers can squeeze the vice president and stop her on her tracks.

The problem is most of them are adamant and afraid to subject the vice president and DepEd secretary to a thorough questioning. We miss Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joker Arroyo, Nene Pimentel, Ninoy Aquino, and other bombastic legislative gatekeepers and “curators” of public funds.

We aren’t saying that the vice president will steal the money, but there’s a saying that if the rat is laughing at the cat, it’s because there’s a hole nearby.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)