DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Sept) – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte did not show up at the Quirino grandstand rally in Luneta Saturday afternoon, but sent word to the thousands of supporters who gathered there to urge him to run for President in the May 2016 elections, to give him some time to do “some final soul-searching.”
Duterte’s message to the participants of the “Call for the Filipino People’s President” rally came 19 days after he made a formal announcement here that he would not run for President.
“I would like to categorically state now (to end) the agony of those who are waiting na hindi ako tatakbo ng presidente. Wala akong ambition maging presidente sa 2016” (that I am not running for President. I do not have ambitions to run for President in 2016), the 70-year old Duterte, who has served as city mayor for seven terms now, said.
A week earlier, at the culmination of the “Run Duterte Run” caravan where some 10,000 supporters gathered at the Rizal Park here on August 28, Duterte signified his “50-50” interest in running for president, but added the decision would depend on his family’s approval
Duterte, also chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council, was not at the Luneta but in Zamboanga City to “help find a solution” to secure the release of the three foreigners and a Filipina kidnapped from the Holiday Oceanview resort in the Island Garden City of Samal last Monday. He sent word to his supporters through a text message read to the crowd by retired Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon at around 5:50 p.m.
In his message, Duterte thanked his supporters and apologized for his absence at the Luneta rally but “I hear your clamor loud and clear. I know you want an alternative to those who now present themselves with their ambition to lead the country. I have repeatedly said that I do not have ambitions to be your president.”
But he added that leaders “respond to duty and moral obligation.”
“Sa lahat sa kababayan natin, humihingi ako ng konting panahon, (To all our countrymen, I ask for a little more time) so I can do some final soul-searching with myself and my family. At pagkatapos, sa konting panahon na lang po, haharap ako sa bansa at sa inyong lahat. At magdedesisyon ako ng buong kalooban at mula sa puso. Pangako ko sa inyo – hinding hindi ko kayo pababayaan. (Soon, I will face you and the whole nation. And I will decide willingly and from the heart. I promise you, I will not forsake you).
The filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 9, 2016 polls is on October 12 to 16.
Three days before the Luneta rally, Duterte in an evening press conferene at the Grand Men Seng hotel urged leaders of the Luneta rally to call it off.
Organizers had vowed to declare him as the “People’s Candidate” at the Luneta rally.
He said he had nothing to do with the rally but was aware organizers want to dramatize their request for him to run for President but requested them to call it off as “it would complicate matters.”
“Baka sabihin ng tao na atras-abante ako (People might think I’m fickle),” he said, as he reiterated his desire to retire from politics in 2016.
He urged those who were planning to attend the Luneta rally to find another candidate to support.
The recently-released Social Weather Survey on voteres’ preference, fielded from September 2-5, 2015, showed “26% chose Sen. Poe, 24% Vice-Pres. Binay, and 20% Sec. Roxas.”
They were followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (11%), Senator Bongbong Marcos (4%), Senator Chiz Escudero (4%), Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (3%), Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (2%), and Senator Manny Villar (1%). Former Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Loren Legarda each obtained 0.8%.
Respondents were shown a list of 12 names to choose from.
The SWS survey was conducted before Duterte’s Sept. 7 announcement that he would not run for President.
The same survey asked respondents to give up to three names for their recommended successors to President Aquino and found Poe, Roxas and Binay taking the top spots followed by Duterte.
The SWS survey showed that 47% named Poe, 39% named Roxas, 35% named Binay, and 16% named Binay.
The Pulse Asia survey conducted August 27 to September 3 also showed Poe leading the Presidential race at 27% followed by Binay at 21 percent, 1 Roxas at 18% and Duterte at fourth place with 15%.
Respondents were asked: “Of the people on this list, whom would you vote for as President of the Philippines if the 2016 elections were held today and they were candidates.” Respondents were also asked to include names other than those listed. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/ MindaNews)