MANILA – Still not filing a certificate of candidacy (COC) on the last day, Davao Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte muted calls for him to join the presidential race in next year’s national elections.
“A little over two years ago, I posted in the government website over the Internet that I was not interested in the presidency. Nothing has changed… I am comfortable where I am now,” he said in a statement.
“If Inday Sara would want it, she has the choice of running in 2016 or the next election. Personally, the earlier the better. I want to retire. I am tired. Give the presidency to the one who wants it. I don’t,” he added.
Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, earlier posted a photo of her holding a signed COC for Davao mayor. She recently gave her father the go-signal to run for president despite previously being openly against it. She also shaved her head to show support.
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Duterte’s son, Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, also allowed his father to seek the country’s highest post after being visited by his grandmother in a dream.
The tough-talking mayor earlier cited his family as one of the reasons why he could not run in the coming general elections.
Yesterday, one of Duterte’s executive assistants filed his candidacy for mayor. Filing the COC at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Manila, the aide wore a shirt with the text: “No is no” in front, and “Sinabi ko na ayaw ko, ang titigas ng ulo niyo – Rody Duterte” (I said that I didn’t want to, you are heard-headed – Rody Duterte) printed at the back.
Duterte earlier apologized to those who urged for his candidacy.
“I am sorry to disappoint those who spent much and worked hard and long in support of me as I went around the country espousing the benefits and advantages of federalism,” he said.
“I therefore beg for everyone’s kind understanding and acceptance of my sincerest apologies… After all, there was no ambition for me to aspire for presidency. The country does not need me. I find no need for it. I guess it is fate that wills that our long journey together should end this way,” he further said.
The local chief executive’s refusal to join the presidential race disappointed many of his supporters who trooped to the Comelec office, hoping that he would still change his mind and finally run for president.
“I’m downhearted. The country needs him and the mayor has the commitment for service to the country,” Duterte’s legal counsel and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod secretary-general Lawyer Melchor Quitain said in an interview, adding that he respected Duterte’s decision.