DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has assured Filipinos that if it is God’s will that he become President of the Philippines, he will “humbly obey.”
Speaking before a congregation of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ that gathered in Davao City to celebrate the 64th birthday of its leader, Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy, Duterte said he believed that the presidency is a mission from God.
“I have never coveted the presidency even up to this day, but people are saying that I should run for President. That is not for me to decide. It is something which comes from God,” he added.
Quiboloy, who had been a friend of Duterte since the day he put up a small chapel near the Davao City Airport to start his religious congregation Kingdom of Jesus Christ, which now has over 6 million members worldwide, exhorted the mayor during his address to the thousands who celebrated his birthday to “listen to the voices of the people.”
“You cannot turn your back on the people. You have to remember that the voice of the people is the voice of God,” the pastor told Duterte.
The mayor, who last year flatly rejected the idea of even considering a run for the presidency, is ranked 3rd in recent surveys that asked people who they prefer to become the next President of the Philippines.
His 3rd place ranking came as a big surprise to political observers especially so because Duterte has continuously denied any intention to run for President.
While he has been moving around the country over the last few months, the mayor said he is only advocating a shift to a federal form of government, which, according to him, would lead to the creation of at least 12 highly autonomous federal states all over the country.
Duterte has maintained that the federal system would result in the establishment of a Bangsamoro Federal State, considered both an excellent option and an alternative to the beleaguered Bangsamoro Basic Law, which he expects to be spurned by Congress.