DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 Oct) – Just a few hours after two of his officials filed on his behalf his certificate of candidacy (COC) for reelection, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte hinted that he may run without a vice mayor.
“I don’t know who is going to be my running mate,” he said, asking if there are candidates for vice mayor going around. But the 70-year-old Duterte said in a press conference at the Qhats CPR Firing Range in Maa here he would limit his choice from among the councilors.
His son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, resigned last month as member of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Hugpong), the local party that his father founded, citing that his efforts were unappreciated by the party’s leadership.
Duterte’s executive assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, who was accompanied by City Administrator Melchor Quitain at the filing of COC at the local Comelec office Thursday afternoon, said they might field Paolo.
Although Quitain, who is Hugpong’s secretary-general, said he has no idea when the vice mayor would file his COC because they no longer have hold over him, having resigned from Hugpong.
“Maybe after next term as mayor, Paolo would be okay, but not now,” he said.
Earlier, Quitain said if Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was mayor from 2010 to 2013, would not run as mayor, then her father will.
Go wore a white collared shirt with the message “No is no” printed in red at the front. Printed at the back: “Sinabi ko na, ayaw ko, ang titigas ng ulo nyo.” (I told you I don’t want to. You’re so stubborn.)
In a message read by Quitain, Duterte said, “Thank you but I have decided to run as mayor of Davao.”
Duterte held a press conference Monday at the Grand Men Seng Hotel where he said for the second time that he was not running for president. He said the same announcement Sept. 7 at the same hotel.
He said Sara’s Instagram posts were taken out of context. On Wednesday, Sara posted a picture of herself with her head being shaved, accompanied by a caption: “Nagpa upaw nalang ko samtang naghulat #Duterte2016 #kalboparasapagbabago #NohairWecare bisan walay kwarta, bisan way makinarya, bisan mapildi #justDUit.”
“Wala ninyo masabti. Kamo katawhan ang wala kasabot diay (You did not get it. You people were the ones who misunderstood her),” Duterte said.
He added that not because she posted such photos with hashtags, she was already giving him the blessing.
“You don’t know Sara well. She is just like me,” he said.
Miriam in, Mar out
The mayor has not yet decided who among the presidential candidates he is going to support but hinted that the feisty Senator Miriam Santiago would be a good option.
“Okay man si Miriam. I hope she has fully recovered from cancer, niabot sya og fourth stage eh. (Sen. Miriam is okay. I hope she has fully recovered from cancer. Her cancer reached fourth stage),” he said.
Duterte said everyone is capable to govern the country, even Vice President Jejomar Binay except that the latter is facing corruption controversies.
But Manuel “Mar” Roxas III will no longer have his support because, Duterte said, Roxas’s team plays dirty tactics to gain supporters.
Duterte lashed back at a veteran journalist last month who claimed that the reason why the mayor was not running for president was because he has a cancer of the throat.
“Just yesterday, somebody leaked the information to me that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has cancer of the throat. He was not playing close-open type of politics when he said he could not decide to run for the presidency in 2016. In fact, he was dead-sure he would not run for any post in 2016, but instead retire,” Philip Lustre Jr. said on his Facebook post last month.
Duterte countered that he has no throat cancer and that his reason for not running was due to his age and his family’s disapproval.
He also said that he never dreamed of becoming the country’s president.