MANILA, Philippines – What would finally convince Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for president?
“Kung mag-ulan ang pera galing sa langit, not from somebody else’s pocket.Depende sa Diyos (If money rains from heaven, not from somebody else’s pocket. It depends on God).”
This was the popular local chief executive’s response to reporters who interviewed him at the opening of a defense and sporting arms show in SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City on Wednesday, November 11.
He was hounded by media and fans as he made the rounds in the exhibit venue, gamely posing with guns.
“Sabi ko sa God, pagbaba mo, magdala ka ng pera. Wala akong pera (I told God, when you come down here, bring me some money. I don’t have money),” he added.
Duterte had repeatedly said that he will not accept money from businessmen or other political backers, fearing the funds would come with strings attached.
‘No urge to run’
Despite two categorical announcements that he is not running for president, there is still speculation on whether or not he will change his mind.
On Wednesday, he stressed that the “urge or the drive [to run] is missing.”
“I’ve been 22 years mayor of Davao City, is that not enough? Tamad na talaga ako magtrabaho dahil matanda na (I am really too lazy to work because I am old). It saps your energy even to think about it,” he told reporters.
But when asked if he has closed the door to the presidency, he was less clear. (READ: Duterte on presidency: Leave it to God)
“Let us place everything in the hands of God. If God intends that I be one – a candidate – I will be there,” he said.
Duterte added later that he was “only half a percent” convinced he should run.
‘It’s all talk’
On whether or not he would agree to be a substitute candidate for PDP-Laban, Duterte said the party has not even contacted him about it.
“It’s all talk. I haven’t received any document nominating me. Press releaselang ‘yan (That’s just a press release),” he said.
PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate Martin Diño withdrew his certificate of candidacy. The party had told media that it had nominated Duterte to take Diño’s slot.
Duterte admitted that he was getting tired of repeatedly being asked by media about his 2016 plans.
“The pressure is there; it’s a heavy one. Almost every day I just try to parry,” he said.
Duterte listed his 4 main reasons for not running: the health of his former wife, the objection of his family members, old age, and lack of campaign funds.
Also present at the gun show was Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a vice-presidential aspirant, who again urged the public to “bombard the heavens with prayers” so that Duterte will decide to run.
Cayetano continues to hope that Duterte will be his running mate. His television campaign ad shows a video clip of the mayor casually “endorsing” his vice presidential bid.
Two days before the gun show, Cayetano held a party at his house to convince Duterte to change his mind.
photo credit: Rappler