Duterte stickers: Is he running for president or not?

Duterte stickers: Is he running for president or not?
The stickers simply say, 'DUTERTE: Disiplina Pilipinas 2016'

Have you seen those stickers on cars? “DUTERTE: Disiplina Pilipinas 2016.” 

We spotted one sometime in March, the same month when Davao Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte emerged third in a Pulse Asia survey on presidential preferences, tying no less than former president Joseph Estrada.

Playing on aspirations for order and discipline in chaotic Manila and other urbanized areas in the Philippines, the stickers leave the curious to wonder about who could be spending on them – especially since the iron-fisted mayor of Davao has been saying on and off he won’t be running for president in 2016.

Last time we heard, he said he wasn’t running. But before that, Duterte was teasing or playing coy, announcing that he was going on a listening tour to discuss the merits of shifting to a federal system of government. About a year ago, his supporters in Davao already staged a rally to show support for a possible presidential bid. Convenors of the Pilipinas 2016 Duterte Movement made their presence felt in February 2014 after supposedly collecting 4 million signatures – in the same way that anti-Marcos activists gathered a million signatures to convince Cory Aquino to run against the dictator in the February 1986 snap elections. Duterte’s supporters are certainly making a statement, declaring they could easily quadruple that effort close to 3 decades later.

PRESIDENTIAL BET? Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the 33rd anniversary of PDP-Laban. File photo by Joel Leporada/Rappler   

What has fueled speculations is Duterte’s re-entry on February 21 into PDP-Laban, which could very well be his vehicle in 2016. That party was a long-time home for Vice President Jejomar Binay, who left it after disagreements with Senator Koko Pimentel over the inclusion of Migz Zubiri in the 2013 senatorial line-up of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance. The two were bitter rivals for the Senate, with Zubiri supposedly cheating and edging out Pimentel in the 2010 senatorial race.

Duterte can deny to the high heavens he’s running for president, but for those desperately in search of decisive leaders willing to make hard decisions and tough choices, “Disiplina Pilipinas 2016” certainly resonates and casts a spell. Besides, a president coming from Mindanao for the very first time is an added attraction to some who appear willing to look the other way when talk about his alleged human rights violations start.

Let us know if you spot more of those Duterte stickers and if you intend to get any of them. – Chay Hofileña/Rappler.com

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