TARGET PRACTICE: Biggest obstacle

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 March) – This is about politics.

Everyone who visits the city nowadays, the first question that he or she wants answered is: “Is your mayor running for president?”

Of course, there is no standard answer because, as political pundits would say, Rodrigo R. Duterte is not a typical politician.

Duterte would always claim that he is not qualified to run for the position. In the about two decades that he is running the city, every time an election approaches, he would always say he will not run. Of course, logically when someone does not announce his intention to run, his critics will not have the reason to pull him down.

However, the way he has been posturing since late last year when he started his “listening tour” seems to indicate that he is bent to run for the highest position. In several speeches, he said he would run if only it would help the country solve its problems.

His supporters, many of them seasoned politicians and political handlers like former National Food Authority administrator Angelito Banayo and former North Cotabato governor Emmanuel Pinol, have been working hard to court more people to the mayor’s side.

But in case he runs, who will be his biggest political nemesis? Will it be Vice President Jejomar Binay who has continued to lead in the surveys? Or the unassuming Senator Grace Poe? Or Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II?

His political enemy is not a politician, but the corporate Makati. Why? Duterte is known to favor the mass majority, that is why.

In the Philippine setting, Makati is the city that controls the government. It is the location of the head offices of the biggest corporations of the country, and the leaders that hold the reins of these corporations, do not, logically enough, want someone whom they cannot control.

Duterte is not a leader who wants to be controlled especially when he believes what he is doing is for the mass majority. He is free-spirited, he makes moves even if these moves will have negative impact on him and his supporters for as long as he believes he is doing society a favor.

One example on this is when he persuaded the city council to pass an ordinance that would limit bars from serving liquor at one in the morning. At first, some of his critics chided him because they believed the ordinance could kill the businesses, but he ignored them because he believed regulating the industry would make the city more peaceful.

So the question now would be: is the corporate Makati ready for a Duterte presidency? If it is, assuming it will abandon its main man Binay, then Duterte has a very good chance at winning the race. Otherwise, Duterte and his leaders must not only triple, but quadruple their efforts in case he goes into the ring for this fight.

The corporate Makati will help determine the victor in the 2016 presidential derby. It might also become the biggest obstacle to the Duterte presidency. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Carmelito Q. Francisco is managing editor of the Davao City-based Mindanao Times.)