By Manny Piñol
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has disowned a statement issued by a political strategist that he has made up his mind on the Presidency and will definitely run in the 2016 elections.
A statement issued by the Mayor through his official spokesman, former Davao City Council Peter Tiu Laviña said “the news this afternoon at GMA News attributed to Lito Banayo was his own opinion or reading of the situation.”
Banayo, former administrator of the National Food Authority and a political strategist who volunteered to help Duterte during the “Listening Tour” on Federalism, issued a statement which was aired by GMA News that the Davao City Mayor was sure to run for President.
Banayo’s announcement came as Mayor Duterte was in the process of “soul-searching” and consulting his family who had opposed the call for him to run for President.
“Mayor Duterte stands by his statement last night (Friday) that he has not made a final decision on running for President in 2016,” the statement said.
“We reiterate his call for his supporters and everyone to just wait and see if he will file his candidacy on October 15 or before the deadline set by the COMELEC,” the statement said.
Mayor Duterte took exception to the timing of the announcement of his supposed decision to run as it was made at the same time Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. made his formal statement to run for the Vice Presidency.
“The timing of this news release, however, has left a bad taste in the mouth as we received complaints that it was meant to crowd out the scheduled declaration rally of one vice presidential candidate,” said the statement.
“Mayor Duterte has no such intention to do so and has even been shying away from media as he continues his “soul searching,” the statement added.
Banayo is known to be endorsing Senator Alan Peter Cayetano to be the vice presidential running mate of Mayor Duterte should he decide to run.
Both Cayetano and Marcos have expressed their support for Mayor Duterte in case he runs for President.
While Banayo has been helping the Duterte camp in media networking and political arrangements, he is neither the official spokesman or the political adviser of Mayor Duterte as he had previously announced.
The official spokesman of Mayor Duterte is Peter Tiu Laviña, a long-time friend of the Mayor, while his political adviser is Maribojoc, Bohol Mayor Jun Evasco.
Evasco, a former Catholic priest who served as Duterte’s political adviser for over 20 years, is seldom seen in public with the Mayor.
“The official Facebook account of the mayor is Rody Duterte, the other accounts and pages claiming to do so are not,” the statement advised.