Duterte says it’s likely Binay vs Grace in Presidential race

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindNews/02 August) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte says he does not see himself as a candidate in the 2016 Presidential elections due to financial constraints and “winnability” in what he believes will eventually be a two-way race between Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Grace Poe.

But the race could be three-way, he said, if Local Governments Secretary Mar Roxas catches up.

“I see only two individuals, Grace (Poe) and Binay. Three persons if Mar (Roxas) can catch up because Binay is spinning out of the loop,” Duterte told a gathering of judges, lawyers who gave him a testimonial dinner at the N Hotel here Saturday.

Duterte, mayor of Davao City from1988 (except from 1998 to 2001 when he served as Davao City 1st district representative to Congress and 2010 to 2013 when he served as vice mayor to his daughter-mayor, Sara), said he would retire from politics after completing his term on June 30, 2016.

“I do not see myself as of now as a candidate,” Duterte told reporters in Cagayan de Oro.

Duterte said he has second thoughts about running for President, citing financial constraints and “winnability” against the other contenders.

He said a recent survey showed his ratings  drop against other presidential candidates from 15 percent to five percent.

“My chances for winning now is  only one percent and a half percent after my ratings drop from 15 percent to five percent,” Duterte said.

Duterte did not say which group conducted the survey and when. But he ranked third among 10 possible Presidential candidates in the Asia Pulse survey from May 30 to June 5, and fourth in the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey of June 5 to 8, with only one per cent difference, against Roxas.

Duterte said he cannot expect financial help from his political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino, which he described as “cash-strapped with no big financial backers.”

Catch up

He said Roxas can catch up with Poe and Binay with President Aquino’s endorsement last Friday. “Roxas can now go campaign around the country saying he has the backing of President Aquino. That is a big deal,” Duterte said.

Roxas was supposed to have run for President in 2010 but slid down to the Vice Presidency in favor of Aquino, who was then seen as a “winnable” Presidential candidate, following the death of his mother, Corazon, President of the post-Marcos dictatorship, from 1986 go 1992.

Roxas lost the Vice Presidency to Binay in 2010.

Won’t endorse

Duterte said he will not endorse any of these Presidential candidates if he won’t run for President because “all of them are my friends.”

Even as he has sounded indecisive on running for the Presidency, Duterte has continued moving around the country for his so-called “listening tour” on federalism and as special guest in major occasions.

From Cagayan de Oro on Saturday night he moved over to Camiguin on Sunday and is scheduled to be in M’lang, North Cotabato on Monday, August 3.

In his testimonial dinner on Saturday, he shared with the audience his vision of how he would run the government if he were elected President.

“After six years, I’m going to give you a new government and a new order,” he said.

Duterte said he will have to contend with a corrupt-ridden bureaucracy and “a Congress that serves its own interests.”

In his earlier pronouncements, he said he’d work for the abolition of Congress.

“How do you deal with police who are into criminality? By what stretch of imagination can you really define due process  if you want to reform this government,” he asked.

“If anyone of you can answer that maybe I will reconsider and run for the Presidency,” he said.

“Presidential prospect”

Duterte’s supporters, however, have not given up on the idea that he would run for President.

Former North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Pinol (1988 to 2008), one of the staunchest Duterte supporters, refered to Duterte as “Presidential prospect”or “Presidential hopeful” in an article he wrote on Sunday regarding the visit of Duterte in Pinol’s hometown in M’lang, North Cotabato, on Monday, August 3.

“Duterte is expected to share his vision for Philippine agriculture” when he visits M’lang, Pinol wrote.

Pinol described Duterte as “the only Presidential hopeful who is considered to have a deep understanding of agriculture” and who has been “advocating for greater government intervention in food production, including the marketing of farmers’ produce.”

Pinol lauded Duterte’s proposal for irrigation services to be provided free for the country’s farmers.

He quoted Duterte as saying the mission of the next President of the country is to ensure “available and affordable food” for the Filipinos. (MindaNews)