Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has disowned a statement of Lito Banayo that he has made up his mind and will be running for President next year.
“The news this afternoon at GMA News attributed to Lito Banayo was his own opinion or reading of the situation,” a statement issued by the mayor through his official spokesman, former Davao City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña, said.
Banayo, former administrator of the National Food Authority and a political strategist who volunteered to help Duterte during the “Listening Tour” on Federalism, had said the Davao City mayor will surely run for President in the 2016 elections.
Banayo’s announcement came as Duterte was in the process of “soul-searching” and consulting his family who had opposed calls for him to join the presidential derby.
“Mayor Duterte stands by his statement last night [Friday] that he has not made a final decision on running for President in 2016,” the statement said.
“We reiterate his call for his supporters and everyone to just wait and see if he will file his candidacy on October 15 or before the deadline set by the Comelec,” it added.
Duterte took exception to the timing of the announcement of his supposed decision to run as it was made when Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. formally announced that he will be running for Vice President.
“The timing of this news release has left a bad taste in the mouth as we received complaints that it was meant to crowd out the scheduled declaration rally of one vice presidential candidate,” the statement said.
“Mayor Duterte has no such intention to do so and has even been shying away from media as he continues his ‘soul searching,’” it added.
Banayo is known to be endorsing Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who had also announced his intention to join the vice presidential derby.
Cayetano and Marcos have expressed their support for Duterte in case he runs for President.
While Banayo has been helping the Duterte camp in media networking and political arrangements, he is neither the official spokesman nor the political adviser of Duterte.
Duterte’s political adviser is Maribojoc, Bohol Mayor Jun Evasco.
Evasco, a former Catholic priest who served as Duterte’s political adviser for over 20 years, is seldom seen in public with the mayor.
The statement also said that the mayor’s official Facebook account is Rody Duterte, and that the other accounts and pages claiming to be his are not.