Duterte may snub his coronation, or will he?
DAVAO CITY—Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will likely be in his hometown when a joint session of Congress proclaims him the 16th President of the Philippines on Monday.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s vice presidential running mate who lost his own race in the May 9 elections, on Saturday said the mayor never went to his own proclamations throughout his political career.
“As far as I know, he never goes to his proclamations. That has been his history. Now, if he changes his mind, that’s up to him,” said Cayetano, who flew to Davao on Friday to meet with Duterte and his transition team.
Winning candidates are not required to attend their proclamations, Cayetano said.
“[T]he last time you interviewed him, he said he’d rather stay here, he’d rather collect his thoughts, enjoy his time with his family and in his city before he takes office,” he said.
Cayetano’s statement echoed that of Duterte’s executive assistant, Christopher Go, who said on Friday night that the mayor would not attend his proclamation.
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, president of Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), on Saturday said he hoped to be able to convince the mayor to attend the proclamation, but his absence would have no negative implication.
Pimentel headed the Senate panel on the joint canvassing committee of Congress that tabulated the votes for the presidential and vice presidential races in the May 9 elections.
The count was completed on Friday night, with Duterte and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo emerging as the winners of the presidential and vice presidential races.
Speaking in a radio interview, Pimentel said Sen. Vicente Sotto III did not attend his proclamation as a winner in the senatorial race by the Commission on Elections.
If it had no effect on Sotto’s victory, there should also be no effect on Duterte’s victory if the mayor chose not to attend his proclamation as President-elect, Pimentel said.
People, he said, go to the proclamation of a President because it is a historic moment and they want to record it for posterity.
“But if he does not want to attend it and have a picture taken of that historic moment, that’s OK. That would have no effect,” Pimentel said.
Cayetano said Duterte’s presence or absence from the proclamation depended on what message the mayor had for the nation.
“It’s either way: the symbolism if he’s there when the people’s champion will be proclaimed, but also the symbolism of continuing his ways of simplicity, no fanfare, nothing corny. That’s how he says it,” Cayetano said.
But if Duterte changes his mind and shows up at his proclamation, it will be a “sentimental” return to the House of Representatives, where he held the seat of Davao City’s first district from 1998 to 2001, Cayetano said.
Senator-elect Manny Pacquiao, who was also in Davao for a meeting with Duterte, said he might try to convince the mayor to attend the proclamation.
“It might be better for him to be there. We will request him to go so that the people will see him,” Pacquiao told reporters. With a report from Leila B. Salaverria/TVJ
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