Duterte on the presidency: ‘I’m waiting for signs from God’

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/23 January)—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is not closing his doors to running for the country’s presidency in 2016, revealing in his “listening tour” here, the first of a series, that he’s “waiting for signs from God to make the final decision.”

“This kind of decision is all God’s will. I will leave it to destiny, it’s up to God where he will put me,” he said.

“I tried to say no because I’m not really interested [to run in the presidential race]. But the more I listen to the pain and sufferings of the people, well I need a sign from God,” Duterte added.

Duterte was in this city on Thursday for a forum to promote federalism as a form of government.

22_Duterte Butuan3 Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte addresses the crowd in Butuan City during the first leg of his “listening tour” on Thursday, 22 January 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas

Should he become president, he said he would “leave the county with a legacy of a federal form of government.”

Duterte told the crowd he will go around the country to listen to the voices of the people to help him decide whether to bat for the presidency.

“What I’m sharing with you is my vision for the country. I’m not sharing with you my ambition. But sometimes, it’s just hard to control since a lot had been asking and pushing [me to run]. I’m listening and I will go around the country for a listening tour,” he said.

But what will Duterte immediately do if he becomes the president?

“If ever I will become the president, I will not sit there without any changes. The first task is to put an end to corruption. I will ask them [corrupt officials] to resign from the government. If they won’t resign, then I will have them arrested.  If you don’t trust me as a dictator in the presidency, then that’s your problem,” he said.

Former North Cotabato governor Manny Pinol, who was with Duterte, said the event was the first of their countrywide tour to promote a federal form of government and to listen to the people.

“In a span of two months, Duterte will travel to the different parts of the country to listen to the people and talk about federalism,” Pinol said, adding their next stop is Zamboanga City.

“We would like to cover at least the key cities in the country,” said Pinol, who has been staunchly pushing Duterte to seek the presidency.

A nationwide signature campaign has been launched to convince Duterte to run for the country’s top post.

Vice President Jejomar Binay and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas are among those reportedly interested to run for president.