Davao City Mayor Rodrigo on Monday, November 23, drummed up attributes of presidential candidates except Senator Grace Poe whom he said should not sit in Malacanang because she is an American citizen.
Said days after announcing that a presidential run for him is now “on the table,” Duterte, in a report in Philippine Star, said voters should opt for candidates other than Poe if they want to have a Filipino president.
The latest poll surveys for the 2016 presidential race placed independent bet Poe in the lead, Mar Roxas of the ruling Liberal party at second, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) at third, and Duterte if the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas/Laban (PDP-Laban) in the fourth slot.
Political analysts agree that Duterte’s entry into the presidential race could impact on the survey ratings.
Duterte said among the choices should be Binay, whose work ethics he said is comparable to that of Lee Kuan Yew’s. The late Singapore Prime Minister is credited with having built his small island state into one of the world’s strongest economies. Binay, standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is credited with transforming Makati City, of which he was mayor for two decades, into the country’s richest city. He vowed to replicate his Makati City experience throughout the country if elected President.
But Duterte also vouched for the two other presidential contenders. Roxas he said is competent, while Santiago is brilliant.
“Kung kailangan ninyo si Grace Poe, Amerikano. Doon kayo. Kung sino lang ang gusto ninyo. Kailangan ninyo ng competent, lumalaban nang bagyo, ‘yan si Mar, kailangan naman ninyo ng gumagawa ng parang Lee Kuan Yew, ayan si Binay, si Miriam she’s brilliant. If you want a brilliant president, ‘yung talagang brilliant na mataas ang IQ ‘yan,” Duterte said in the Philippine Star report.
After several months of sending mixed signals, Duterte over the week-end announced that he was running for President in protest of a decision by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) which declared that Poe, a foundling, is a natural-born Filipino and qualified to run as president.
Duterte, a lawyer, insists Poe, a foundling adopted by the late actor Fernando Poe, Jr. and actress Susan Roces, is not a natural-born citizen and thus not qualified to run for President.
Duterte said the SET ruling collided head-on with the Constitution which provides that a candidate for President should be a natural-born Filipino.
Duterte said he would have no qualms about having an Ifugao, Igorot, Mangyan, Visayan, carpenter or a teacher running for President, but not an American.
Speaking as if he has not announced he may take a crack at the presidency in 2016, Duterte placed himself at the end of a shortlist where voters could pick the next President.
Compared to Binay, Roxas and Santiago, Duterte ranked himself with a barely passing grade and urged voters to forget him as a presidential candidate.
“Kung gusto ninyo ng 75, 76, 77, ako ‘yan. ‘Yan lang talaga ang grado ko sa buhay ko. Ordinary lang ako. ‘Di nga ako nakatikim maski fifth honourable mention…Kalimutan ninyo na ako (You want a President with a grade of 75, 76,77? That’s me. I am but an ordinary person. Forget about me),” said Duterte in the Philippine Star report.
But while Duterte is asking voters to drop him as a candidate, he also opened himself as an option if voters think the other candidates fail the grade.
“Balikan ninyo ako one week before the elections….para di kayo mabigatan, i-consider ninyo muna silang lahat (Consider them first and then come to me one week before the election),” he said in the Philippine Star report.
In the earlier part of the interview, Duterte said “Kung wala na kayong makita, baka gusto niyong tumingin sa Mindanao. Nandoon lang ako (If you cannot find your presidential candidate (among Binay, Roxas and Santiago) you might like to look at Mindanao. I am there).”