Duterte: Time to end a wild dream
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – It’s final. Again.
Only four days before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte declared for the nth time he was not running for President, and made it clear to the people of Davao City his decision was final.
“This is a beautiful day to end a wild dream,” Duterte said on Monday, as he read his letter to the people of Davao, along with a letter addressed to him by daughter and former Mayor Sara Duterte, telling him not to run for President in the 2016 elections.
“Do not run for president,” part of Sara’s letter said, “You don’t owe anything to anybody, and you’ve done more than enough for your country.”
Duterte, in his letter to the people of Davao, which he said he would ask Manila broadcasters to read the following day, apologized to friends and the people of Davao because of his decision not to run for president.
“I address this to the people of Davao because I became a man and a mayor here, and here I will end my time,” he said and reiterated what he’d been saying all along: that he is 70 years old, a certified old man, and all he wanted to do in the morning is to extend his hours lying in bed.
“When have you seen me coming to office very early?” he asked.
“When I used to work as city prosecutor, I used to wake up at 5 a.m. to hear a case,” he said, “Now, I’m 70, a certified old man, all I want is to lie in bed longer.”
He said he would ask broadcasters in Manila to read his letter, begging the people to understand his decision to retire from politics.
“I beg for everyone’s understanding,” he said in the letter.
“After all, there was no ambition for me to aspire for the presidency. The country does not need me. I find no need for it,” he added.
Although everyone has been prodding him to run for president because of his advocacy for federalism, he said, “I believe that my destiny is to end years and years of public life in the service of Davao City and every Dabawenyo.”
He also said his decision was “really a family thing.”
“We have a problem in the family, and in the order of things, you do what is closest to your heart,” he said.
Duterte also expressed unease, even irritation, with the attention he has been getting in Manila and over recent reports pairing him with Senator Alan Cayetano and Senator Ferdinand Marcos III, who have declared their candidacies for vice president.
“My face comes out cheap in the public,” he said.
“I’ve never been used to this thing, even if you can say, we’ve reached the heights of glory, maski ang mga anak ko (even my children), they’re fundamentally shy. Sara has made herself inaccessible and unavailable,” Duterte said.
“I got it from my father, they got it from me,” he added.
He said he decided to call the media for the second time, to formally announce that he would not run because of the attention he has been getting in Manila.
“Look at the newspapers, me tandem tandem na naman diyan (In Manila, they are already speculating on the tandem),” Duterte said, referring to the reports that paired him with Senator Alan Cayetano or with Senator Ferdinand Marcos III, of the Nacionalista Party.
He said that like his daughter, who has made herself inaccessible and unavailable, he would also make himself inaccessible so as not to let anybody sway him from his decision.
He said he might run for reelection at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office on October 15, the date that would augur well for the feng shui, to give his new term a new blessing and luck. He said he would not file a COC in the Manila office of the Comelec, where candidacies for national positions should be filed.
“I tell you the many reasons I cannot be president, but to sum it all, kaya mo ba ang problema ng Pilipinas (Can you solve all the problem confronting the Philippines)?” he asked.
Duterte said he longed for a quiet life; to pursue his main passion, hunting. He talked about his secret and favorite place — a place of underground waterfalls, where only he knew the direction of the falling water.
He said that if his daughter, former mayor Sara Duterte, would agree to run for mayor in Davao City, he would immediately retire from politics. Should she refuse, “the option for reelection is on the table,” he said.
But was is it really final?
On Sept. 7, Duterte, in a press briefing, said his decision not to run for president was “final and categorical.”
“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, hindi ako tatakbo pagkapresidente. I’m sorry,” Duterte told reporters and supporters gathered in a function room of a hotel on Sept. 21.
But minutes after that “final and categorical” statement, Duterte hastily left the hotel, saying he had to fly to Manila.
The day after, Duterte had engagements in Malabon and Navotas. He also visited a television station. He also met with Muslims traders in Greenhills.
On Sept 21, Duterte again called for a news briefing and appealed to his supporters not to push through with their plan to hold a rally at the Quirino Grandstand on Sept. 26.
“Stop it. You’ll get nothing from it,” Duterte then said.
The mayor did not show up in that rally.
But Duterte did not order his staunch supporters, like former North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol, and spokesperson Peter Laviña, to stop issuing press releases.
“If they find it a fulfilling vocation, I will not stop them,” he said.
On Sept 29, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano announced his intention to run for vice president. He made the announcement in Davao City, a move seen to convince Duterte to make the senator his running mate.
A day after, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. went to Davao City meet with Duterte. Marcos recently declared that he, too, was running for vice president.
Cayetano and Marcos belong to the Nacionalista Party.
On Oct. 9, Duterte said he would not be making any announcement on whether he would run for president or any position.
Speaking to reporters at a posh hotel here, Duterte, who admitted talking with the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan on the 2016 elections, said his supporters should just wait for his action in the coming days because he would not be making any declaration at all.
“If I show my face there at the (Commission on Elections) on the 15th, I will be filing the certificate (of candidacy) for presidency,” he said.
Then, at a press conference on Monday afternoon, Duterte again said he was not running.
On social media, some of his supporters expressed disappointment. Some, however, are still hopeful Duterte would change his mind in the remaining four days before the filing of certificate of candidacy ends on Friday.
As one supporter said, the statement he read during Monday’s press conference was unsigned.
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