Alien abduction is what will make Duterte run
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said only one thing would make him backtrack on his pronouncement that he would not seek the presidency. That would be if Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe would be “abducted by aliens.”
“If Binay, Grace and Mar suddenly disappear—[probably] abducted by aliens—there would be no [presidential] candidate; then that’s the time I would run,” Duterte replied told reporters after he addressed the Muslims for Duterte Movement in San Juan.
Duterte was the guest speaker at the event organized by some 1,000 Muslim supporters at Gloria Maris in San Juan City. The group’s convener, Carim Panumpang, said the gathering, which also discussed the benefits of adopting a federal system of government, has been arranged even before Duterte declared on Monday in Davao City that he was not joining the race to Malacañang.
The latest Pulse Asia survey showed that Duterte placed third behind Poe and Binay, while an SWS survey placed him at fourth behind Poe, Binay and Roxas.
In a more serious tone, the tough-talking mayor said his pronouncement on Monday was “not a strategy” for a potential presidential bid. “[It’s] a statement coming from the heart [and] that is the decision of the family,” he said.
Pressed if there wasn’t anything that would make him change his mind, Duterte replied “maybe none.”
“We can’t just utter words and then take them back. It’s not a rubber band,” he pointed out.
When continuously pressed if he would reconsider his position, the 70-year-old mayor at one point said “I really do not know.”
“For now, [the prospect of running] is closed,” he said, adding that he was “already old” and suffered a “24-hour headache” since he figured in a motorcycle accident a couple years back.
Duterte also belied reports that he was being courted by the Liberal Party to be Roxas’ running mate.“In fairness to the President, to Mar and to the Liberal Party, there are no talks [about running as vice president],” he said.
As for supporting the ruling Liberal Party in next year’s elections, Duterte said he would “cross that bridge when I get there.”
Toward the end of his 50-minute speech, which covered topics from the history of Mindanao to federalism and the Bangsamoro Basic Law, Duterte described Poe, Binay and Roxas as “good” and tagged himself as “very good,” which drew loud cheers from the crowd. He closed his speech by telling the crowd “I won’t leave you.”
At the event, most of the supporters, which included actor Aljur Abrenica, wore ballers, shirts and vests either bearing the words “Duterte Atin to Pre” or “Duterte for President.”
Panumpang said that they will support Duterte in his bid either as president or vice president. He noted, however, that should Duterte choose not to seek higher office, “we will campaign for a no vote.”
In Bacolod City, Duterte’s supporters said they were not giving up hope that the mayor would change his mind and run for president in 2016.
Lawyer Jesus Hinlo Jr. of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Coordinating Committee said their group in Negros Occidental believe that Duterte will eventually accept the challenge to run for the presidency.—Jovic Yee with Carla Gomez, Inquirer Visayas; and Nikko Dizon
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.