“The country does not need me. I find no need for it.”
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte made the statement on Monday, the first day of the period of filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2016 election, as he once again attempted to dash the hopes of his supporters that he will reconsider his decision not to run for higher office.
“After all, there was no ambition for me to aspire for the presidency,” he said in a news briefing.
A footage of his speech was uploaded on the ABS-CBN news website.
“I guess it is faith against will that this journey together should end this way,” Duterte said.
The 70-year-old mayor, known for his iron-clad action against criminality and illegal drugs, made it to national headlines after he started to embark on a nationwide speaking tour purportedly to espouse a shift to the federal form of government last year.
Observers as well as his supporters took this to mean as Duterte’s way of gauging his popularity as a probable candidate for a national elective position.
His announcement on Monday was a repeat of his announcement last September.
“I’m sorry to all of you, I will retire after my term as a mayor of Davao City,” Duterte said
in a news conference that preceded a rally at the Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila where thousands of his supporters showed up asking him to reconsider his decision.
Speculations that the mayor has backtracked went into overdrive after two would-be candidates for Vice President–Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.–visited him in Davao City, with the former admitting that he wanted to become Duterte’s running mate.
As what he said last September, Duterte cited the opposition of his family to the idea.
“If Inday Sara agrees to run for mayor, I will retire at the end of my term in 2016. If she does not, the option again to be mayor is on the table. When all is said in the wake of this decision, perhaps you can find comfort in the thought that this indeed, this is indeed a beautiful day to end a wild dream,” he said as he referred to his daughter whom he replaced as mayor in 2013.