DAVAO CITY: What would it take to convince Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for president?
For Corazon Valenzuela, a resident of Parañaque City, kneeling before the man he called “my president” is perhaps the best way.
This she did when she met Duterte on Thursday night in the lobby of Mandaya Hotel in Davao City, where the mayor’s supporters from across the country gathered in preparation for grand rally calling for his candidacy on Friday.
The incident happened while Duterte was talking to the group of Valenzuela, who asked him about his political plans. As usual, Duterte tried to put off the group’s enthusiasm by telling them to count him out of would-be presidents.
However, what happened next shocked Duterte and the people in the lobby of the hotel.
Charles Raymond Maxey, a staff of the city sports office, said Valenzuela “suddenly knelt in front of mayor just to emphasize how she desires to have him as president of the country.”
The mayor, Maxey posted on his Facebook account, was “dumbfounded.”
“Stunned, the mayor tried to stop Ms. Valenzuela as if to say she does not have to do it, but failed,” Maxey said. “She then got up and embraced Duterte and told him ‘You are my president’.”
Maxey recounted further that Duterte was clearly in shock over what he witnessed.
“He could only smile and eventually told the group that he will seek for God’s guidance, telling that it would be God’s decision,” he said.
Villanueva, 75, calls herself a “plain housewife who is very much concerned in the plight of the Filipino people, and the Philippines.”
She told The Manila Times in a phone interview that kneeling before Duterte was a spontaneous gesture.
“Perhaps because I am exasperated already? I have seen how the past administrations failed us. Their promises were never kept. All of them are a failure,” she said.
She believes that Duterte will be the person “who will save us from doom.”
“I knelt before him, maybe because part of me was already very tired,” she said.
She said she felt relieved after.
“I heard something from him. I felt something from him. I think he will run and listen to us. I hope what I did will convince Mayor Duterte,” she said.