Duterte’s candidacy status: whatever will be, will be  

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – The mayoralty again. Retirement. The Presidency.

These are the three options Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ranked, according to his preference, as of late Friday evening, when his office called for a press conference amid rumors peddled around social and mainstream media that he would declare his Presidency when Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., declares his bid for the Vice Presidency in Intramuros, Manila the next day.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the 64th founding anniversary of M'lang in North Cotabato on Monday, August 3. 2015. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the 64th founding anniversary of M’lang in North Cotabato on Monday, August 3. 2015. MindaNews photo by TOTO LOZANO

“All options are on the table but do not bet on it (the Presidency),” he told reporters at the lobby of the Marco Polo Hotel after a meeting with leaders of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) at the Camiguin Room on the same floor.

Duterte said that if he were to rank his choices for 2016 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as highest, Duterte said 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.

“If I show my face there (Commission on Elections in Manila) on the 15th, I will be filing the certificate of candidacy for Presidency (but) if you do not see me…” he said.

He said his daughter Sara, who was mayor from 2010 to 2013, left him a letter before flying to Manila, to say she was against his running for President.

“She wrote me a letter. Very specific. ‘Do not run. You owe nobody nothing. Do not force yourself into it.’ Yan ang statement ni Inday (Sara). That was what she wrote to me. ‘Do not run for the Presidency. Do not be forced into it because you owe nobody nothing,’” the mayor said.

His 10-year old daughter, Veronica, whom he describes as “Papa’s girl,” is also against his running. “She gets viral na tatakbo ako. Nagagalit (that I will run. She gets mad). I do not want a hostile environment. I have to fix that. I cannot go home na nakasimangot ang mga tao” (where people are frowning),” the 70-year old Duterte said.

Duterte has four children, three with his first wife, Elizabeth: Paolo, the incumbent vice mayor, Sara the former mayor, and Sebastian; and Veronica.

Sara has not said yes to his proposal for her to run again for mayor. “If Inday is not running for the mayorship which I have asked her, maybe I will be forced to (run for reelection as mayor). I cannot lose my political base,” he said, adding it is “very important for a politician to have a bailiwick, a political base.”

Duterte has repeatedly said in public that he’d prefer Sara, a lawyer (Sara was Vice Mayor from 2007 to 2010 and Mayor from 2010 to 2013), to run for mayor instead of his eldest son, Paolo, the incumbent vice mayor. Paolo had served as barangay captain and councilor, before he became vice mayor to his father-mayor.

Duterte is the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history. He served as OIC Vice Mayor from 1986 to 1988; was elected mayor from 1988 to 1998; congressman of the first district from 1998 to 2001; mayor again from 2001 to 2010; vice mayor from 2010 to 2013 and back as mayor from 2013.

“Not running”

Duterte had announced in Davao City on September 7 that he was not running for the Presidency.

“I would like to categorically state now (to end) the agony of those who are waiting na hindi ako tatakbo ng presidente. Wala akong ambition maging presidente sa 2016” (that I am not running for President. I do not have ambitions to run for President in 2016), he declared, then left the function room at the Grand Men Seng Hotel. No Q and A followed after his announcement

Duterte did not show up at the Quirino grandstand rally in Luneta on September 26 – the “Call for the Filipino People’s President” — where organizers had hoped to make him change his mind. He was in Zamboanga City instead, for a meeting on the kidnapping in Samal five days earlier, but sent word to the thousands of supporters who gathered at the Luneta to give him some time to do “some final soul-searching.”

Retired Armed Forces chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon read his text message to the crowd in Luneta shortly before 6 p.m. In his message, Duterte thanked his supporters and apologized for his absence at the Luneta rally but asked for a little more time to do some “final soul searching with myself and my family.”

“No announcement”

“I cannot have any announcements to make tonight because there is none,” Duterte told reporters, many of whom had waited for him for at least three hours for the supposed 6 p.m press conference the City Mayor’s Office called.

“Maybe you would want to know whether I’d run for President or not. Wala akong maisagot dyan. Kasi kung sabihin ko di ako tatakbo di naman kayo maniwala. Kung sabihin ko ngayon na tatakbo ako di naman kayo maniwala (I do not have an answer for that. Because if I tell you I am not running, you will not believe. If I tell you I will run, you will not also believe), Duterte said.

“I have no categorical statement to make as of tonight because I am running for speed in a time tunnel. Deadline is fast approaching. I have yet to see a glimmer of that light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, before talking about his family’s opposition and Sara’s letter.

Duterte, who belongs to a local political party, will be the PDP’s standard bearer if he runs for President, he said.

Whether or not he would run for mayor, President, or retire from politics if Sara runs, Duterte has declare his choices for Senator, 10 as of late Friday night: Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, Senator Serge Osmena, former Senators Panfilo Lacson and Juan Miguel Zubiri, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, ACT-CIS party list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Manila Vice Mayor Ishko Moreno and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, with whom he is at odds on the issue of human rights and justice but who comes from the same school where he finished Law: San Beda.

Twelve senators are to be elected in 2016. (MindaNews)