DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 October) – From three options on the table Friday night – the mayoralty, retirement, and the Presidency, in that order, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte faced the press Monday afternoon to say the option to run for President in the May 2016 polls is out.
“Time and again, those who believed in me and in the (federalism) cause that I advocated and continue to advocate, advised me to go for the country’s presidency because that is the destiny that awaits me,” Duterte read from a five-paragraph message addressed to “my friends and fellow Dabawenyos.”
“But I believe my destiny is to end the years and years of public life in the service of Davao City and every Dabawenyo,” the 70-year old Duterte said at a little past 3 p.m. on Monday, the first day for filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs).
The filing of COCs ends on Friday.
Former North Cotabato Governor Emmanuel Pinol, a staunch supporter of Duterte, said only divine intervention would make the mayor change his mind.
“There’s no other way to believe it. There’s no other way to interpret it,” he said, referring to Duterte’s message.
This was the second time Duterte made a formal declaration that he won’t run for President, the first on September 7, at the Blue Chateau function room of the Grand Men Seng Hotel, the same venue for his October 12 announcement.
For the second time, Duterte apologized to his supporters who had been egging him to run for the highest post.
“I am sorry to disappoint those who spent much and worked hard and long in support of me as I went around the country espousing the benefits and advantages of federalism. I therefore beg for everyone’s kind understanding and acceptance of my sincerest apologies. After all, there was no ambition for me to aspire for the presidency. The country does not need me. I find no need for it. I guess it is fate that wills that our long journey together should end this way,” he said.
On Friday night, Duterte told reporters that “all options are on the table but do not bet on it (the Presidency).”
On a scale of 1 to 10
He said if he were to rank his choices for 2016 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as highest, he’d give the mayoralty an 8; retirement if daughter Sara does not run for mayor, a 6 or 7; and the Presidency a 2.
Sara Duterte-Carpio, who served as his vice mayor from 2007 to 2010 and mayor from 2010 to 2013 when Duterte was vice mayor, has not accepted his proposal to run for mayor.
“If Inday Sara agrees to run for Mayor, I will retire at the end of my term in 2016. If she does not, the option to be Mayor again is on the table,” he said.
The mayor ended his statement, thus: “When all is said in the wake of this decision, perhaps we can find comfort in the thought that this is indeed a beautiful day to end a wild dream God bless the Philippines. God bless us all!”
Duterte will have served a total of 40 years in government service by 2016. He served as government prosecutor for 10 years before he was named OIC Vice Mayor in 1986, served as mayor from 1988 to 1998; representative of the first district from 1998 to 2001; mayor again from 2001 to 2010; vice mayor from 2010 to 2013. He was elected mayor for the seventh time with son Paolo as vice mayor.
“Dito ako naging mayor. Dito ako nagkapangalan. Dito ako matatapos…(I became mayor here, I made a name here. I will finish (my public) service here)… I have to manage somehow the longings to be in private,” he said.
Respect his decision
Antonio dela Cruz, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (DCCCII), told Mindanews that they will respect Duterte’s decision not to run for President.
“He has been in public service for so long. For sure, he has a valid reason why he is not running for president,” he said.
But Dela Cruz said he is not dscounting the possibility that the mayor would change his mind as the deadline for filing of COCs is still on Friday and “many things might happen.”
If he is not changing his mind about running for President, Dela Cruz urged Dabawenyos to keep praying for the mayor’s health, his family, and children.
Peter Tiu Lavina, a former Davao City councilor who serves as spokesperson, in his Facebook post on Monday, wrote: “Agonizing over a personal decision, reading a statement before a stunned nation. I almost cried. Like millions here and abroad, I was terribly disappointed.”
But Lavian added, “until the fat lady sings the blues, I still nurture hope, how slim it may be. The deadline is still four days off. Habang may buhay, may pag-asa” (There’s always hope while we’re alive). I believe some pieces in the jigsaw puzzle need to be placed before we can see the whole picture. To me, today is not yet the end of the ‘wild dream.’”
Lavina accompanied the mayor when made the announcement Monday. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)