Supporters make final push to convince Duterte to run

Pia Ranada
Supporters make final push to convince Duterte to run
Core Duterte supporters are said to be flying to Manila on Wednesday, October 14, to prepare for the possibility that the Davao mayor would run for president

MANILA, Philippines – Supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte are making a final push to convince him to run for president in 2016.

Former North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol told Rappler on Wednesday, October 14, that they are “plugging the holes” and addressing the issues that Duterte had raised as reasons for not running.

On Monday, October 12, Duterte announced he was not running. He has vacillated several times already, saying he was too old to run, Filipinos were not ready for his leadership style, he did not want to run, he was in a quandary, and that he was finally not running. But his supporters are not ready to give up.

Piñol said some core Duterte supporters are flying to Manila on Wednesday, October 14, to prepare for the possibility that the Davao mayor would run for president

Leoncio Evasco, a close friend of Duterte who once served as his chief-of-staff, told Rappler, “It’s not over until October 16.”

October 16 is the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy.

Piñol said he has prepared responses to Duterte’s various reasons for not running, among them, the future of Davao City without a Duterte at the helm.

Duterte is loathe to leave his hometown at the hands of a politician who could unravel its transformation into one of the most liveable cities in the country.

Piñol’s answer? “It will be in good hands with either Paolo or Sara as mayor,” referring to Duterte’s children.

Sara’s change of heart?

But Sara Duterte-Carpio, reportedly her father’s top pick for mayor after his term, has resisted calls for her to run, saying she preferred to have a private life with her family. 

Paolo, Duterte’s son, is the incumbent vice mayor.

Sara has also been named by Duterte himself as the one most strongly opposed to his presidential bid. But her latest social media posts are rekindling hope that she might have had a change of heart.

Photos of her after going bald are accompanied by captions using “#Duterte2016,” the hashtag used by supporters of a Duterte presidency.

In one Instagram post, she said, “I go bald while waiting #Duterte2016#kalboparasapagbabago#NohairWecare even if we don’t have money, even if don’t have the machinery, even if we lose #justdUit.”

Addressing another of Duterte’s reasons for not running – the mayor had said that he “didn’t want to beg for money” to fund his campaign – Piñol said their response is simple. “Small businessmen have pledged P1 billion ($21.7 million).”

A group of businessesmen, the Anonymous Patriots for a Peaceful and Progressive Philippines (AP4), said they would donate P1 billion for his campaign with no strings attached.

On Duterte’s claim that the nation does not need him, Piñol said, he would be told, “The call for him to lead is genuine.”

What happens after ‘yes’?

Duterte himself wondered how people would react if he said “yes” after saying in two press conferences that he would not run, said Piñol in his post.

But Piñol said he assured the mayor, “The only people who would not like to see you backtrack from your earlier pronouncements would be the people who don’t like you to become president.”

Only two more days are left until the end of the week of the filing of candidacies.  Rappler.com

 $1 = P46

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.