Politicians welcomed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that he will be joining the presidential race but the camp of Sen. Grace Poe was put off by the reason behind the mayor’s change of heart: that he could not accept the decision of the Senate Elector Tribunal allowing the senator to run for president.
The Liberal Party (LP) said it is not threatened by Duterte’s entry into the presidential derby since its standard-bearer, Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, is offering a different platform of government.
“We welcome Mayor Duterte’s entry to the presidential race, but we are not threatened,” Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez of You Against Corruption and Poverty (Yacap) party-list, a supporter of Roxas, said.
“One thing is for sure, we have our own brand and strong campaign message and platforms of government to sell which are both anchored on the continuity of daang matuwid [straight path],” she said.
Lopez maintained that Roxas “remains formidable and strong and the most qualified – legally, integrity and experience-wise – among the presidential candidates.”
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) President Tobias Tiangco said that they respect Duterte’s decision.
“That is part of our democratic process. We respect his decision. VP [Vice President Jejomar] Binay will just continue his consultations with the poor and explaining his programs that will uplift them from poverty,” Tiangco said.
The camp of Poe said Duterte’s entry in the presidential election will strengthen democracy.
“Though we do not agree with the position of Mayor Duterte on Sen. Poe’s citizenship and the status of foundlings, his decision to seek the presidency will make our democracy stronger and more vibrant,” Poe’s campaign spokesman Rex Gatchalian said.
“The more choices the people have, the better. Clearly his entry to the presidential race will raise the discourse on issues this coming elections,” Gatchalian added.
Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) spokesman Mark Enverga likewise said that Duterte is a welcome addition to presidential candidates.
“We hope to hear his platforms of governance if he does finally decide to run for president. But yet again, the NPC is still undergoing its deliberative and consultative process of selecting its choice for the presidency in 2016 to support,” Enverga, who also represents Quezon’s first district, said.
Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City’s first district said the province backs Duterte.
“In times like these where peace and order is sorely lacking in the country and we are facing terrorism within and outside our shores, where injustice prevails and the rule of law is set aside at the whims and caprices of the powerful, we need a leader who is decisive not teka-teka [indecisive], who wields an iron fist against transgressors of the law, but cares for the downtrodden and the victims, who is swift to act and results-oriented, one who comes from the Filipino masses and whose heart belongs to them,” Nograles said.