Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday reiterated his announcement that he will not be running for President in next year’s elections because Filipinos are not ready for his style of leadership.
“The people of the Philippines are not ready for my kind of style,” he said in a roundtable interview with executives and journalists of TV-5.
Duterte on Monday said he was standing firm on his announcement despite an impending “Occupy Luneta” campaign being organized by his supporters to purportedly convince him to reconsider.
“Yung mga nagpaplano ng ganon umuwi na lang kayo. Puntahan nyo na lang ang mga girlfriend at asawa ninyo, maligaya pa kayo. Walang mangyayari ‘diyan [To those who are planning to go there, you just go visit your girlfriends or go home to your wife and you’ll end up happy. Nothing will happen there],” he said.
A movement to clamor for a Duterte presidency gained ground middle of last year after the tough-talking mayor went on a nationwide speaking tour purportedly to promote the shift to a federal form of government.
Duterte’s tough style and no-nonsense approach to criminality and illegal drugs drew supporters as well as critics to his cause.
Human rights advocates criticized Duterte for allegedly coddling vigilantes and for having a hand in unsolved killings in Davao City.
Duterte said he sees the problems of Philippine society and knows the solution but said the people are not yet ready for his style.
“If I would rate my service to Davao City from 1 to 10, I’d give myself 6 and a half and I’m okay with that. The Filipino people are not ready for my kind of style,” he added
Despite insisting that his decision was final, Duterte still dropped hints that things might change.
“Masama ang magsalita nang tapos sa mundong ito [It’s not good to speak with finality in this world],” he said.
“It’s only really God who can tell us whether, for example, ‘You ma’am will get married two years from now,’” he said, directing his answer to a female member of the interview panel.
“I became mayor of Davao by accident. I was a prosecutor. It was my mother who was going to run,” Duterte added.
When asked if he now considers running for Vice President, he said, “Ayoko ng may mas mataas sa akin [I don’t want to have anyone above me].”
The mayor however, confirmed that he and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd had a recent lengthy conversation over his political future.
Pimentel on Thursday said the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) will still try to convince Duterte to run for President.
He added that he still believes there is still hope for the mayor to change his mind and the party is not giving up.
“I feel the clamor of a big segment of society for him to run for President, so I will just beg him to listen to the clamor,” said Pimentel, who was with Duterte until 3 a.m. on Thursday.
He and members of the party, he added, will not give up on trying to convince the Davao City chief executive until October 16 or even beyond that.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set October 16 as the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy.
The senator noted that Duterte can still be included in the presidential race even after the October deadline through the substitution rule of the Comelec.
Under the substitution rule, the Comelec allows substitution of candidates in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal.
“If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a duly registered political party or coalition of political parties dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, he may be substituted by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party. No substitute shall be allowed for any independent candidate,” the law states.
Pimentel said PDP-Laban can still register Duterte in case he agrees to run for President after the October deadline.
“There is an initial deadline but that is not the absolute deadline to decide. It is a risk on the party of the political party and we are willing to take that risk,” he added.