Will Duterte run for president?

LISTENING TOUR. Duterte visited Dapitan City and Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental for consultations on changing the government system to federalism. Photo by Gualberto Laput

LISTENING TOUR. Duterte visited Dapitan City and Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte, and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental for consultations on changing the government system to federalism.

Photo by Gualberto Laput

MANILA, Philippines – We already know that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte – the Davao City chief known for his no-nonsense approach to peace and order – has been going around Mindanao and the Visayas the past several weeks.

The “listening tour” comes in the form of forums where he discusses the merits of shifting the Philippines to a federal system – a popular advocacy among sectors in the south that have been so tired of being neglected by imperial Manila. The forums are organized by local chief executives.

It's widely believed in political circles, however, that these federalism forums are also meant to gauge the chances of a possible Duterte presidential bid in 2016. Great way to test the waters and feel the public pulse.

So what would a Duterte presidency look like? He gave a straightforward answer, true to his reputation as iron-fisted executive, in Dipolog City on Thursday, February 12.

“You are saying this, promoting federalism because you want to be the next president,” a barangay chairman told him in the open forum.

Duterte said: “I don’t want to become the President. Being a mayor of Davao for so many years is enough.”

And then the “but”: “But if I become the President of the Philippines, I will rid the government of corrupt officials and change our style of government. If I will not get the reforms I want in the first 6 months to one year of my term, I will declare a revolutionary government.”

So there you go. Who knows what he's thinking? Or is he just teasing? Rappler.com