Duterte drops out of presidential race
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—There will be no revolutionary government, after all. No federalism, either.
That means Filipinos must find “another son of a bitch” to run the Philippines.
And that’s “final and categorical,” Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte told reporters and supporters on Monday as he announced his decision not to run for President in next year’s national elections.
“After talking to my family and everybody else connected to my life, I would like to categorically state now, and also to end the agony of those waiting and for those who believe in me, I’m not running for President. I’m sorry,” Duterte said at a news conference held in a hotel in Davao City.
Duterte said he plans to retire next year.
Malacañang was glad about Duterte’s decision.
“Having dedicated many years to public service, he deserves an opportunity to devote his talents and time to other worthy [undertakings],” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
Duterte’s withdrawal leaves Malacañang’s presidential candidate, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, with just two rivals, as of Tuesday—Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Poe, an undeclared candidate, had no immediate comment on Duterte’s decision to quit the 2016 field.
Binay wished Duterte well.
“The Vice President respects [Mayor Duterte’s] decision and wishes [him] well,” lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay’s political spokesman, said in a text message.
Not giving up
Despite his decision, Duterte’s party, the PDP-Laban, is not giving up hope that he will run for President.
“We respect Mayor Duterte’s decision. But advocates of federalism are still hopeful that he will reconsider his decision not to run before the deadline for filing [certificates of candidacy] on Oct. 16,” said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the PDP-Laban.
Pimentel said Duterte had always been saying he would not run so the mayor’s announcement on Monday was “not an earth-shaking” development for the party.
Good poll ratings
The tough-talking Davao City mayor toured the Philippines last summer to “feel the people’s pulse” and placed third, behind Poe and Binay, in the latest Social Weather Stations poll for the 2016 presidential election.
He placed fourth, behind Roxas, Binay and Poe, in the latest Pulse Asia poll.
Despite behaving and talking like a presidential candidate, even running TV ads undoubtedly aimed at promoting a run for the Palace, Duterte had been saying he had yet to decide whether to run.
What made him back off, he did not say at his hastily called news conference on Monday.
Backing Inday Sara
“The Punisher,” as Time magazine once called Duterte for his iron-fist rule in Davao, said he had been talking to his daughter, former Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, and had told her he would campaign for her in her bid to return to City Hall next year.
“I’m sorry to all of you who believed in me all along, to those who spent money to advertise my name,” he said.
“I believe it’s no longer my time to be in politics, I will retire after my term,” he added.
Duterte’s statements seemed to have doused the excitement of an expectant crowd outside the hotel. One woman, apparently not understanding what was going on, asked, “So, is he finally running now?”
Duterte also apologized to the politicians from different parts of the country who had prodded him to run and who might be disappointed by his decision.
‘All about federalism’
“I told you before it was all about federalism, but when I went around, there were people who wanted to support me as President, some of them making commitments to me,” he said.
He also apologized to the Moro people who had shown enthusiasm about his prospective candidacy. He warned that “if the Bangsamoro Basic Law fails to pass in Congress, nothing short of federalism will appease the Moro people.”
“To the Moro people, please forgive me, but let’s choose candidates who support federalism,” Duterte said. “Nothing short of federalism will appease the Muslim community.”
Duterte also spoke about federalism in an interview with Inquirer editors and reporters during a visit to this newspaper’s offices on the night of
He said that if elected President, he would set up a “revolutionary government” to clear the way for a shift to federalism, which he considered the only solution to corruption, criminality and the Bangsamoro problem.
“If you don’t like that, OK. Look for another son of a bitch,” he said.
Three for Senate
On Monday, as he withdrew from the presidential race, Duterte mentioned the names of several people who supported him and said he would campaign for those who would run next year.
Duterte then endorsed three potential senatorial candidates—Las Piñas Rep. Mark Villar, ACT-CIS Rep. Samuel Pagdilao and Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo.
“I will support these three. But I will keep an open mind on whom I will support. These three are good and they can serve the Philippines well,” he said.
He did not take questions from reporters.
“I have to catch a flight to Manila,” he said.—Germelina Lacorte and Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao; With reports from Gil C. Cabacungan and Christine O. Avendaño in Manila
Originally posted: 08:47 PM September 7th, 2015
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