DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 29 Aug) — As calls encouraging him to run for president intensified, Davao City mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Friday it’s now a 50-50 chance that he may run for the country’s highest post in next year’s national elections.
He told reporters at the culmination of the “Run Duterte Run” caravan on Friday: “(Will) it be 50-50 if I am not considering to run?” he said, adding his decision “could go either way.”
Duterte had earlier said he was not at all interested in the Presidency.
On Friday, he said he still needs more time to convince his family, especially his daughter, former City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who objects to his running for President because of age. Duterte is turning 70 in March.
“Wala ko problema, si Inday murag naga-dala sa pamilya. Anak gud nako na. Kabalo ka anang Inday (I don’t have any problems. It’s Sara who handles the family after her mother and I got separated. She’s my daughter. You know Sara),” he said.
Duterte, mayor from 1988 to 1998, representative of the first district from 1998 to 2001 and mayor again from 2001 to 2010, served as vice mayor to his daughter-mayor from 2010 to 2013. In 2013, he was elected mayor for the seventh time with son Paolo as vice mayor.
Duterte has been prodded by various groups since last year to run for President in 2016 but he has repeatedly said he was not interested in running, until Friday’s 50-50 possibility.
If he can have his way, he explained, he would like to serve the people despite his age because “I love the Philippines, it is the land of my birth, it is the home of my people.”
A little more time
Despite the incessant objection of his family, Duterte added he would only need a little more time to get their approval.
“Konting panahon na lang at kausapin ko sila… Baka makita ng mga anak ko, baka mag-iba ang isip nila. Pagmag-usap kami nito (Sara), sabihin ko na lang ‘day, makita mo naman ang hiningi ng mga tao,” (Just give me a little more time and I will talk to them… My children might change their mind. When I talk to Sara, I will tell her, ‘Day, you have seen what the people are asking), he said before a thousand supporters from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
The sea of people who had participated in the caravan since August 15 then broke into cheers after gleaning a possibility that Duterte had been moved by the massive support and that he would finally decide to run.
“Basta pag-dating ng panahon, walang sisihan. Siguraduhin lang ninyo, kayong mga hindi taga dito, siguraduhin ninyo na manalo ako” (When the time comes, no blaming. Just make sure, those who are not from here, make sure I win).
The caravan, which started on August 15 in Manila, was organized by a group called “Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee” (MRRD NECC), which gathered some 10,000 supporters and at least 3,000 vehicles from across the country, as a show of support for Duterte.
In the gathering of councilors at SMX Convention Center Davao last June, former mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said she will give her all-out support should her father decide to run for President even if running for this position is unfit for his age, considering that he will be facing a multitude of problems that have to be addressed.
In his 70-minute speech, he made reference to the Presidency six times and how he would run the country and what reforms he would implement.
First, Duterte said it is going to be a tough road for his administration if ever he becomes President and that he would only face the same fate as former Presidents Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and President Benigno S. Aquino III if he works within the present Constitutional structure.
“I do not want to get elected and sit there at pareho lang ang sistema na susundin ko, I am bound to fail… I cannot solve the problems,” he said while pertaining to the corruption problems that are hounding most of the politicians in the country. He said he would only lengthen the agony of the Filipinos should he become President if he follows the same system that works according to the Constitution, which for Duterte, is the problem itself.
“Kasi sa Constitution mismo, nandyan ang corruption,” he said.
Duterte has been going around the key areas in the country to push for a shift to a federal form of government.
He said he does not want to fail in fulfilling his duties at the end of the six-year term.
He also reiterated earlier pronouncements that he would declare a revolutionary government should there be anyone who would get in his way and file an impeachment case against him while he is implementing reforms.
“Pag ako kinuwestyon at pinaylan ng impeachment ground, makiusap ako sa kanila… at kung ito lang ang paraan para magkaroon tayo ng reporma at pahirapan, magdeclare ako ng revolutionary government (If they would question me and file an impeachment case, I will talk to them… and if this is the only way to bring about reforms and they’ll make it difficult, I will declare a revolutionary government,” he said.
He also discussed cleaning up government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Customs, Government Service Insurance Company, Social Security System, and Philippine National Police of corrupt officials and workers.
Should his plan on having a revolutionary government take shape, he said he will prioritize Mindanao first and that he would talk to the Moro people.
He said he got a copy of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law before it reached Congress, “at nung binasa ko sabi ko mahirap, baka hindi makalusot” (when I read it, I said, this will face difficulties, it might not pass).
He said he would also appeal to the communists to give up armed struggle to allow development to prosper. “Let’s not take arms against each other. Why kill each other?,” he said.
He also lambasted the unfair sharing of Internal Revenue Allotment among local government units and the biases in the allocation of infrastructure projects in Mindanao. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)