Rodrigo Duterte: Mar Roxas should not be president

Pia Ranada
Rodrigo Duterte: Mar Roxas should not be president
(2nd UPDATE) 'I might just refuse to campaign for him,' the Davao City mayor says, referring to Roxas whose camp he accuses of resorting to black propaganda

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte lashed out against the camp of ruling party standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II on Friday, October 16.

Asked who he would endorse among the presidential candidates, Duterte said in an  interview on radio station dzMM that he would remain “neutral,” then continued that he was particularly disappointed with a particular candidate, whose camp had allegedly waged a black propaganda war against him.

Naghihintay lang ako ng panahon, sasabihin ko sa buong Pilipinas kung bakit itong taong ito hindi puwedeng maging presidente (I’m just waiting for the right time, I’ll tell the entire nation why this person cannot be president),” he said.

When asked to identify the candidate, Duterte said: “Camp ni Roxas, yung isang PR nila. Ako raw ay may cancer of the throat. Ang asawa ko, may cancer, nagkaroon ng bypass,” said Duterte, referring to his ex-wife Elizabeth who recently went abroad for a bypass.

(It was from the Roxas camp, one of their public relations people. He said I had throat cancer. My wife has cancer, she underwent a bypass.)

Last September, a rumor spread that Duterte had throat cancer. Not long after, he announced for the first time that he was not running for president.

Duterte blames Roxas, the presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, for not being able to control people under him, one of whom allegedly released the “hurtful” misinformation.

He admitted, though that he had Buerger’s disease, a constriction of the blood vessels due to nicotine. Duterte also said that he has esophageal erosion because of drinking alcohol, which his doctor said may lead to cancer if he wouldn’t cut his consumption.

‘Black propaganda’

Duterte said he did not know if the go-signal to spread the rumor came from Roxas himself but he said it likely had “clearance” from the higher-ups.

He said he felt hurt because he considered Roxas a friend, citing their experiences together as legislators during the 11th Congress. Roxas has also consistently referred to Duterte as a long-time friend.

Asked if he would campaign against Roxas, Duterte said, “Not necessarily, I might just refuse to campaign for him,” adding that he and Roxas are “friends.”

Later on, when asked whether he would urge the people not to vote for Roxas, Duterte said, “Di ko sinasabi yan. Akin lang ‘yan. Bahala na ang mga tao (I’m not saying that. That’s just me. The people will decide).”

Duterte was interviewed just moments after the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy. Many had waited for him to show up at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, but he declared in a statement that he was not running for president.

He had made himself scarce during the past few days, issuing his latest statement only a few minutes before the 5 pm deadline.

‘Unfortunate misunderstanding’

Responding to the allegations, Team Daang Matuwid Spokesperson and Representative Barry Gutierrez said in a statement, “This misunderstanding between former secretary Mar Roxas and his long-time friend Davao Mayor Digong Duterte is very unfortunate.”

Wala po sa pagkatao ni Sec Mar na magpakalat ng mga ganitong storya, lalo na tungkol sa isang taong matagal na niyang kaibigan. Kung maaalala natin, biktima ng kanser ang pumanaw niyang ama at kapatid, kaya sensitibo ang issue na ito sa kanya,” he added.

(It’s out of character for Sec Mar to spread stories like these, especially about someone who has long been his friend. If we recall, his father and brother were victims of cancer, that’s why this issue is sensitive for him.)

During all his years as Davao City mayor, not once did he employ “black propaganda” against his political rivals, Duterte emphasized.

Duterte also had a theory on why there was a clamor for him to run: People weren’t satisfied with the choices. He said neophyte Senator Grace Poe is under threat of disqualification while Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is facing corruption charges, may go to jail.

Kay Grace, sayang boto mo baka ma-disqualify. Itong si Binay baka makulong….Ito namang si  Mar Roxas, baka sakaling maisipan niya na madisiplina niya ang mga tao niya. it could be very costly sa kanya yan, ” he said.

(With Grace, your vote might go to waste because she could get disqualified. Binay might go to jail. As for Roxas, he may decide to discipline his people. It could be very costly for him.) – Rappler.com

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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.