Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to be in the mix in the 2016 presidential derby despite failing to file his certificate of candidacy at the October 16 deadline last month.
At the birthday of Senator Allan Peter Cayetano who is running for vice-president over the weekend, Duterte reiterated his non-interest in the presidency citing again the same reasons why he is not interested in the presidency.
But he also spent more than 30 minutes laying down what he would do if he becomes president.
To make it more complicated, he said he still has until December 10 to appear before the Commission on Election office to file his certificate of candidacy as a substitute for Martin Diño, a member of the political party PDP-Laban.
Under Philippine election rules, a candidate nominated by a political party may substitute for another if the latter withdraws or is disqualified or incapacitated.
Duterte is a member of the PDP-Laban.
The PDP-Laban is set to nominate Duterte as its substitute presidential candidate.
Duterte’s three children by his first wife last week also come out to support their father who earlier claimed that daughter and former Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was against his presidential bid.
A close family source also hinted that the delicate medical condition of his estranged wife and mother of her grown up children is keeping Duterte from pursuing the presidency.
With several surveys pointing to a tight chase, Duterte’s joining the race will ensure a minority president will again be elected as the 16th president of the Republic.
The maverick Davao City mayor however said running and winning the presidency will be a ‘gamble for his freedom.’
“You are asking me to gamble for my freedom,” he told guests at the birthday party of Cayetano.
Duterte has vowed to go after criminals and has repeatedly said he will go to the extent of killing drug pushers himself.
He also swore to abolish Congress and declare a revolutionary government if lawmakers will stand on his way towards drastic reforms.
At the height of the laglag bala controversy (bullet-in-the-bag scam) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Duterte said if corruption and criminality persist, he announced that might be tempted to run.
Two previous presidents had been charged for plunder and corruption with President Joseph Estrada impeached and was ousted from office by a popular revolt.
Estrada was later convicted by a Philippine graft court for plunder.
His successor, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, however pardoned him a few years later.
Arroyo was herself also indicted by the same graft court that convicted Estrada.
She is now under house arrest while on undergoing trial.
Duterte is said to be wary that he may not be able to institute genuine reform during his presidency without violent reactions from the elite politicians and government officials that are well-entrenched in Congress and the bureaucracy.
In an interview with Philippine online news website Rappler, Duterte was quoted as saying, “The presidency, it is not without limits, that’s the Constitution. (The present structure) doesn’t want me to have so many doors, so many windows.”
Despite his radical views on governance under his watch, the clamor for him to run has not subsided.
His former close-in aides and advisers are still meeting and moving around the country like he is already a shoo-in candidate.