Duterte: “I am running for President”

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 November) — Dismayed over the 5-4 decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) that Senator Grace Poe is a qualified presidential candidate, Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday said he is running for president in the 2016 polls.

“I am running for President because I am disappointed and sad sa ruling na yan,” Duterte said in a video post by abs-cbnnews.com while being interviewed by reporters on Saturday evening where he attended a party in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pushes for a federal form of government during the Mindanao Leaders Summit on Monday (December 2) in Davao City. At the same time, he rejects calls for him to run for president in 2016. Mindanews Photo by Keith Bacongco Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte pushed for a federal form of government in this photo taken during the Mindanao Leaders Summit on December 2, 2014 in Davao City. At the same time, he rejected calls for him to run for president in 2016. Duterte now says the option to run for President is on the table.  Mindanews file photo by Keith Bacongco

He added that he is now “in the begging stage” to encourage daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, who previously turned down the offer, to be his substitute in the mayoralty race.

Duterte, who was expected by supporters to file a certificate for candidacy for President in October, chose to file a COC for mayor of Davao City on October 15.

Duterte, a lawyer who served as a prosecutor in Davao City for 11 years before his appointment as OIC Vice Mayor in 1986, said he cannot accept that someone like Poe who is not a natural-born and is only presumed to be a Filipino citizen will run the country as the president.

“Grace can run for governnor and mayor, wag yang presidente… Bigyan mo ako ng Bagobo, Ata, Igorot, yung totong Pilipino,” he said.

Duterte sounded more definitive in Dasmarinas on Saturday than a day earlier, in his TV program “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa,” which was taped on Friday but aired on Sunday morning.

In his weekly TV program,” Duterte said that if the SET decision is not reversed by December 10, “then I would announce maybe, just maybe, that just maybe but maybe, maybe, maybe not – basta dili ko musugot (I will definitely not agree with that decision).

Asked by the anchor if he would run for President, Duterte said, “the possibility of running is on the table now.”

“Ako wala magdamgo. Mapildi o madaog. Kung daog, di maayo… og pildi at least sa akong kinabuhi I was given one day in my life to talk about the truth (I never dreamed to be President. Win or lose. If I win, then good. If I lose, then at least I was given one day in my life to talk about the truth).”

Duterte said that unless Poe’s parents can be identified as Filipino, she should not run for President because that post “is sacred to Filipinos.”

He said foundlings are deemed or presumed citizens of a country where they are found but the Philippine constitution states the president should be a natural-born citizen.

Commenting on the SET’s decision where Senator Vicente Sotto III is a member, Duterte said it turns out to be like a “political decision” made worse because it seems to be mixed with “showbiz.”

By a vote of 5 – 4, the nine-member SET dismissed the disqualification case filed against Poe by petitioner Rizalito David. Five senators voted to dismiss the disqualification case while four, including the three justices, voted to disqualify Poe.

The senators who voted in favor of Poe are Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Vicente Sotto III and Cynthia Villar while those who voted to disqualify Poe are: Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, chair, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Associate Justice Arturo Brion and Senator Nancy Binay.

Binay’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, is running for President while Cayetano’s brother, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, is running for Vice President. Duterte can be seen in Cayetano’s campaign ads as saying Cayetano will make a good Vice President.

Duterte said foundlings are not the issue here. What is at issue is a foundling running for President because “you must be Filipino pag-gawas nimo, ayaw ko patagnaa (You must be a Filipino when you were born, don’t make me guess).”

“When you go out of the body, when the umbilical cord is cut, and you’re free as a human being to roam around the universe, Filipino ka gyud with a Filipino mother or father,” he said in reference to jus sanguinis principle adopted by the country, where citizenship is determined by blood, not by place of birth.

Another issue involving Poe’s citizenship is a petition raised questioning her residency, especially when she used her American passport.

“When you use your American passport instead of your Filipino passport, you have renounced your Filipino citizenship,” he said.

“Kay pag-gawas nimo nag paila ka nga American ka og dili ka Pilipino, para sa ako dako na nga insulto (When you go out of the country and you present yourself as American and not as a Filipino, then it’s a big insult for me). When your yourself is not convinced that being a FIlipino makes you proud then by all means you can get out of this country,” he said.

Dili ko nimo kumpetensya senadora. Wala koy kalagot. You’re a very cultured person,” (I am not competing with you, Madame Senator. I do not have have grudges against. You’re a very cultured person),” Duterte said, adding “but if you’re running for President, you must be a Filipino.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)