Presidential candidacy is already on the table — Duterte

By Lilian C. Mellejor
DAVAO CITY, Nov. 22 (PNA) — Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte did not appear 100 percent certain to run for president in the 2016 elections but his decision is almost there.

“Maybe…just maybe or maybe not,” he said with uncertainty during his Sunday’s Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program, which was taped on Friday evening.

When asked by his co-host how certain his decision to run for president, Duterte took a folder and put it on his right side saying, “That was my decision before.” He then took the folder and put it in front of him and said, “The possibility of running is on the table now.”

Last Saturday, he travelled to Manila to attend a friend’s birthday in Dasmariñas, Cavite where he reportedly declared his interest to run for president in 2016.

Duterte pronouncements came following the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) junking the disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe.

The mayor had criticized the SET decision, saying, “It was a political decision.” “Showbiz style,” he added. He said it was obvious since the majority of the members of the SET that voted to junk the case were senators identified with Poe. He mentioned senator/actor Tito Sotto.

Duterte, a former fiscal, said his opinion is the same with SET members, who are Supreme Court justices. He explained that “foundlings” are deemed or presumed to be citizen of the country where they are found.

According to him, there are processes to make in order for the government to declare foundlings as natural-born citizens. A mother who gave birth to a foundling must present herself and show proof she is a Filipino; declare that the child has a Filipino father.

The Constitution, Duterte reminded, provides that those qualified to run for president should be a natural-born Filipino. “You cannot have a president who is deemed to be a Filipino citizen,” he said.

If there is a review of the decision, Duterte urged members of the SET to review carefully the record. He said he cannot accept such decision knowing that lawyers study law for four years.

The mayor is also looking forward to another case questioning Poe’s residency. He said Poe was accused of continually using his US passport in her travel outside the country despite the renouncement of her American citizenship.

Duterte noted there were already two similar cases questioning a residency and the cases earned favorable decision.

If a decision is rendered in favor of Poe, Duterte said he would file his presidential candidacy.

Poe, Duterte said, should not be ashamed to travel with a Philippine passport. “You – yourself are not proud you are a Filipino,” he said referring to Poe.vThe mayor however, pointed out that it is not the mistake of Poe that she is a foundling. He does even consider Poe as competitor. “I am contented where I am – as mayor,” Duterte stressed in Bisaya.

Duterte said he would not mind losing the election. “At least – one day in my life I told the truth,” he said. (PNA)