DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, after months of saying that he will not run for president, finally announced his bid last Saturday, saying the Senatorial Electoral Tribunal's (SET) decision on presidentiable Grace Poe's disqualification case prompted him to seek the presidency.
"What made me decide to run? Was it an offer for money? No. Gusto ko lang sabihin sa lahat stop (expletive) with the Filipinos... I have nothing against Grace but if you run for the highest post in the land... it must be reserved for a true-blue Filipino," Duterte reportedly said in a media interview in Dasmariñas Cavite last Saturday.
Duterte also stated during the same interview that "you cannot put a president of presumptive citizenship to run the affairs of the government."
"If ever you (Grace) make it, you will be a presumptive president by citizenship. Hindi ko matanggap yung ganun. What will happen when she is disqualified because she is American? Give me an Igorot, an Aeta, a plumber. Kahit ano basta Pilipino," Duterte said.
He said the decision of the tribunal cheapens the Constitution, which clearly states that only a natural born Filipino citizen can be president.
Duterte also said that he disagrees on Poe's argument that the international law and convention grant foundlings of a natural born citizen, as the treaty only states that it vests citizenship to the foundling.
"Wala namang sinabi she's now vested citizenship and deemed to be a Filipino at birth. Huwag mong taasan iyan, hanggang dyan lang," he said.
He added that if Poe wins and the Supreme Court will say that she is not a Filipino, that would be tragic.
Meanwhile, Duterte also challenged Poe to produce her birth mother to prove that she is Filipino. He said he would gladly campaign for Poe if she is able to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino.
In his weekly program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa, which was aired Sunday but was taped on Friday (November 20, 2015), Duterte said that he will wait for the decision of motion for reconsideration to be filed against the SET's decision and if there's no decision before December 10, he would have filed his candidacy by then.
"If she will still win against motion for reconsideration, I will announce maybe, just maybe, that maybe, the possibility of running is on the table now," Duterte said in his program.
He added that he does not say that he can beat Poe with his decision to run.
"Wala man ta giingon na mapildi nako si Grace. Basta ako, wala ko nag-apas sa kadaugan ug kapildihan. Ako lang if I'd be given a chance to talk about my truth atubangan sa nasud. Abogado ko, mao na ang akong natun-an sa klase (I do not say that I can beat Grace, I am not after winning or losing. What I just want is that I'd be given a chance to talk about my truth to the country. I am a lawyer, that is what I learned in class)," Duterte said.
He also said that initially, he does not have ambition to run for president and he does not have anything for Grace, "yet the main issue here is the foremost position of the country and that is presidency."
"Win or lose, at least I was given one day of my life to talk about the truth," Duterte said.
He also said in an interview in Cavite that he is set to discuss his decision with the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) because it was sudden.
"First, I have to talk to them. Hindi ito alam ng Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Nung isang gabi lang ako napasukan ng bakukang," Duterte said.
He said he will not yet file his candidacy, as he is still set to fill some gaps.
He added that he is currently begging for former Davao City mayor Sara Duterte's approval to replace him as mayoral candidate of the city.
Duterte's supporters were not surprised of his decision.
"Not at all. Duterte has been on the road the past year listening and learning all the ills of the country, offering common sense solutions. It is uncharacteristic of him not to feel anguish to the people and leave him helpless," said Peter Tiu Laviña, spokesperson of Duterte's camp, in a text message to Sun.Star Davao Sunday.
"Mayor is still pacing his timing all and he needs to do is to sign his Certificate of Nomination and appointment and to personally appear at Commission on Elections as a substitute of Martin Diño," Laviñia added. (Sun.Star Davao)