IT ain’t over till it’s over.
PDP-Laban–the martial-law era opposition party–will nominate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as its standard-bearer in next year’s elections.
“The nomination will be signed by millions of Filipinos who support Mayor Duterte. This will be a people’s nomination,” said party president Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.
The tough-talking Duterte earlier categorically stated that he is not joining next year’s presidential derby.
In a news conference last week, he said he will be retiring from politics after his current term ends.
Duterte was hovering on the 3rd and 4th spots in recent pre-election presidential preference surveys, which had Sen. Grace Poe in the lea, followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd enjoys a slim lead over the Davao City mayor.
Duterte’s announcement initially dampened the spirits of his supporters who were expecting him to otherwise declare his bid for the presidency.
But a televised roundtable interview with TV5 executives and journalists had Duterte saying, “Masama ang magsalita nang tapos sa mundong ito [It’s not good to speak with finality in this world], “ when asked if his decision not to run for President was final and not made to only fire up his supporters.
“PDP-Laban wants Mayor Duterte to run, but whether he will run… it’s the mayor who will solely make the decision. He has asked for time and space, so we’re giving him time and space,” Pimentel told reporters.
When asked if he believes Duterte’s announcement is not yet final, the senator replied,
“Yes, because he did not change anything.”
“It was a repetition of what he has stated before. We will be ready, but we’re not unduly pressuring him because he has asked for time and space… to reflect. It’s such a big, crucial and important decision,” Pimentel said.
University of the Philippines public administration professor Prospero de Vera said Duterte could be a key factor in the 2016 contest.
“The question is where will those double digits go? Where will the support [for Duterte]go?” de Vera told reporters.
“The second question is if Duterte decides not to run, who will he endorse? The support in Mindanao is very high. If Duterte decides not to run and supports any of the three declared candidates, that will significantly change the direction of the elections.”
Political analyst Ramon Casiple on Thursday said the Davao City mayor is still considered a possible presidential candidate despite his announcement that he is not joining the race to Malacañang.
WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA