Will he or won’t he?
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte appeared to be reconsidering his earlier decision not to run for the presidency during the May 2016 national and local elections after thousands of his supporters gathered at the Luneta Park in Manila yesterday.
“I hear your clamor loud and clear. I know you want an alternative to those who now present themselves with their ambitions to lead the country,” Duterte said in a text message that was read to the crowd by retired General Hermogenes Esperon. Esperon served as Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The tough-talking mayor begged for more time for his supporters, saying that he will announce to the country his decision on whether to run or not after a ‘final soul-searching’ with his family. “I have repeatedly said that I do not have ambitions to be your president, but leaders have to respond to duty and moral obligation,” he added.
According to Tempo, about 6,000 people attended the rally yesterday, which aims to persuade Duterte’s family to let him run for president. The mayor was in Zamboanga City to help resolve the kidnapping of three European nationals in Samal Island, Davao del Norte.
Duterte’s supporters also launched a national fundraising effort for Duterte during the event dubbed “Piso Para sa Pagbabago,” which aims to raise P1 billion. According to them, there will also be a nationwide caravan to show that the mayor will enjoy broad grassroots support should he decide to seek the presidency.