Saturday, August 24, 2019

Briones: Cayetano’s gamble

I DON’T know what time they were supposed to meet in Greenhills yesterday, but as of this writing (3 p.m.) there was still no confirmation.

Oh, I’m referring to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte finally declaring that he will run for president in next year’s elections. Yup, the waiting is over after several weeks of “is he?” or “will he?” That is, if you take Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s word for it.

But tell that to the unconfirmed reports of thousands of potential volunteers who showed up at the “A Call for Federalism,” a rally held at the University of the Philippines grounds in Cebu City last Sunday.

Cayetano may have attended the event but Duterte was a no-show, I’m sure to the dismay of his fans, especially those who reportedly shaved their heads. Nine hours they reportedly waited. But no “The Punisher.”

It was during the rally that Cayetano said, and I quote, “that Duterte already announced he is running for president to his closest friends and some journalists in Davao City around 11:30 p.m. last Saturday.”

So I assume Cayetano is one of Duterte’s closest friends since he was privy to the information. But wait, Sun.Star Davao reported last Sunday that the announcement was made in a party in Cavite last Saturday night.

Hmmm, maybe they’re not that close. Probably the “Hi, Hello” type, but I doubt they make beso-beso, although I can never imagine Duterte do the cheek-to-cheek with another guy, no matter how flawless Cayetano’s skin looks.

But if indeed Duterte does proceed to do the switch--after all he already filed his certificate of candidacy to run for reelection--he still has to reveal who his running mate will be.

And yet, Cayetano is so sure that it will be him. Oh dear God, it must be him. It must be him, and I’ll let Vicki Carr finish the chorus. Just as sure that Duterte would confirm that he is running for president yesterday. Then again, maybe there’s something the senator’s not telling us. Or why else would he be so emphatic?

I hope, for Cayetano’s sake, that Duterte does seek the presidency otherwise it will be a loss of face of cosmic proportion for the senator. How else can Cayetano expect to have a fighting chance in the vice presidential race if he will then be known as the politico who cried “Duterte will run for president”?
Anyway, I don’t understand the clamor for Duterte’s presidential candidacy.

According to the report of Sun.Star Cebu’s Elias O. Baquero, “Duterte placed fourth in a survey by Business World and the Social Weather Stations from Sept. 2 to 5, with 11 percent of the 1,200 respondents saying they would vote for him.”

He was behind Sen. Grace Poe (26 percent), Vice President Jejomar Binay (24 percent) and former DILG secretary Mar Roxas (20 percent).

Based on the figures, it will be an uphill battle for Duterte, one that will require lots and lots of money and a well-oiled political machine with a wide reach too.

But hey, stranger things have happened in politics.
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