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Duterte now keeps ‘options open’ on 2016 elections

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday, he would be keeping his options open on whether or not to run for President in the 2016 elections out of respect for those who were pushing for his candidacy.

“I will not close the door. I will keep it open,” Duterte said during his “Gikan sa masa, para sa masa” television program on Sunday morning.

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But Duterte said he was doing this “out of respect for the groups which are pushing me to run.”

“I’m trying to be civil to everybody, especially to the guys who spent money and efforts. They’ve been asking me not to close the door. Marami na ang naghinanakit sa akin (Many have been hurt by my refusal to run),” he said.

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He said his friends, former classmates and some businessmen have asked him to “temper my outright refusal” to be a presidential candidate.

But Duterte said he would only run if he thought he could contribute something to the country, because he would not be just another lame duck president or perpetuate “inutility” within the system, vaguely referring to the unitary form of government. Duterte has been advocating a switch to the federal system of government.

But some say his listening tour on federalism also serves as his way to gauge people’s reaction to his possible candidacy in 2016.

But in an interview in Tandag City in Surigao del Sur on Friday, Duterte refused to directly answer the question on how he would push for a shift to a federal government if he would not run and win as president.

Duterte’s rating in the Pulse Asia survey has climbed up from 12 per cent in March this year to 15 per cent in the latest survey conducted from May 30 to June 5; and released only on Thursday, June 18.

The Pulse Asia survey, which used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents, with an error margin of ± 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, showed Senator Grace Poe, gaining a 30 per cent support from Filipinos, Vice President Jejomar Binay trailing her at 22 per cent; and Duterte, 15 per cent; followed by Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and former President and incumbent Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada at 10 per cent each.

In the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey conducted from June 5 to 8, Poe also topped with an eight-percentage-point lead over Binay, who slid to second place; while Roxas gained.

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Poe is the choice presidential contender to succeed President Aquino of 42 per cent of the survey respondents; Binay, of the 34 percent; Roxas of the 21; and Duterte, of the 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, former North Cotabato Gov. Emmanuel Piñol said the SWS figures were even “surprising.”

He said the SWS survey conducted from June 5 to 8, Poe got the support of 42 percent of the 1,200 respondents or an 11-percent increase from her previous 31 percent in March by the same survey outfit while Binay went down from 36 percent to 34 percent.

In the latest SWS survey, Roxas climbed to the third with 21 percent, up from his previous 15 percent; while Duterte slid to fourth with a rating of 20 percent, which is actually a modest increase compared to his previous 15 percent.

“The SWS figures, never mind if they do not conform with the public perception of Binay, Poe, Duterte and Roxas, looked so ridiculous that a keen eye would easily spot glaring inconsistencies,” Piñol said.

He said the 11 percent increase in Poe’s figures was “simply incredible unless we are involved in that popular ‘Peria’ game Jumping Horse.”

Piñol said Binay’s negligible two-percent point fall also did not appear correct especially in the wake of the issues raised against him.

“But what was really ridiculous in the SWS survey figures was the inexplicable jump of Secretary Roxas from a tie for third with Mayor Duterte at 15 percent in March to 21 percent in June,” he said.

Piñol said it was not only inconsistent with the latest Pulse Asia survey results, where Roxas ranked fourth with 10 percent, but was “simply unrealistic.”

Another thing he cited was the 11 percent rise in Roxas’ popularity.

“There was no significant issue involving the DILG secretary during the survey period which could have helped him (rise) to (the) 3rd place,” he said.

The Pulse Asia latest survey was conducted up from May 30 to June 5, or six days before SWS conducted its own survey.

Piñol said there were also “ethical questions over the way they conduct the surveys because of the fact that a political group could commission them to conduct a survey for a fee.”

“Always satisfy your customer because the customer is always right,” he said.

“This is dangerous in a fledgling democracy like the Philippines because it could shape the minds of the voters and the decision makers,” he said, adding that “a false survey could result in flawed electoral preferences given the “bandwagon” phenomenon during the elections and it could even influence the President into making wrong decisions.” With a report from Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: 2016 elections, 2016 presidential elections, Davao City, Elections, Emmanuel Piñol, Grace Poe, Jejomar Binay, Local authorities, Local Governments, Mar Roxas, mayor, News, Politics, Pulse Asia, Rodrigo Duterte, Social Weather Station
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