MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte stated that he would not be endorsing presumptive presidential candidates Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Senator Grace Poe or Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay for next year’s national elections.
Roxas, who has been President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s preferred successor, was not Duterte’s preferred president. Although he was a friend and an ally, Duterte could not endorse him.
“That is because I do not promote the ‘winnables’… [He] has the machinery,” he said.
Duterte also asserted that should Justice Secretary Leila de Lima be adopted by Roxas’ political party, the Liberal Party (LP), as their senatorial candidate, all the more would he not support the interior secretary’s presidential bid.
Grace Poe also did not have Duterte’s endorsement and vote as he had issues with her nationality. He explained that the neophyte senator may have been adopted by Filipino parents but her biological parents and their nationality were unknown.
“She’s my friend too but I cannot give my vote to her. We may end up having an American president… [She] cannot prove that she is a natural-born Filipino,” he said.
“Grace Poe is a foundling. Who was her father? Her mother? A Filipino? We will never know… If you want Grace, it’s up to you,” he added.
Duterte claimed that he would not endorse Binay as well because the Vice President was ‘difficult to spell.’ He then likened the controversial politician to late President Ferdinand Marcos as both faced corruption allegations.
“In Marcos’ time, it was only conjugal, Marcos and Imelda. If he (Binay) wins, it will be a basketball team,” he said, referring to several government officials in Binay’s clan.
Not supporting any possible presidential candidate, Duterte clarified that he was not planning on going against any of them as he was not running in the coming elections.
But should De Lima indeed join the senatorial race, the stern mayor noted that he would not only campaign for a rival political party but he would run then.
Teasing the crowd who wanted him to run as president, Duterte hinted that he was a qualified candidate as he was a natural-born Filipino and was not hurled with corruption allegations in his more than two decades of public service.
But then again. He reiterated not seeking a higher post and clarified that he was not faultless.
“I am not saying I’m faultless. First, I have two wives. I’m very open about that. I also have girlfriends. You want me to be president? I’ll introduce them to you. They’re all beautiful and good persons. But I do not provide for them using government money,” he said.