DASMARIÑAS, Cavite—The tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte might run for the presidency after all.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed to the Inquirer on Saturday night that it is a Duterte-Cayetano tandem for the 2016 elections.
|Vice presidential contender Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano bows to his guest, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, during the senator’s 45th birthday party in Taguig City. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/RICHARD A. REYES|
In a phone interview on Saturday night, Cayetano said: “Yes, he will not allow the Constitution to be disregarded and it’s just a matter of talking to the PDP-Laban and setting everything in motion.”
Duterte, who had just come from Iloilo, made the bold announcement when asked by reporters in an ambush interview.
“When he got here (in Cavite), he said that—he’s how open to a presidential run,” said the Senate majority leader.
“My candidacy for the presidency is now on the table,” Duterte said at a birthday celebration of his law school classmate here in Dasmariñas on Saturday night.
It was yet the strongest statement the reluctant candidate said on his on-and-off presidential intentions.
Duterte in a speech that lasted for about 30 minutes said what changed his mind was the recent decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) throwing the disqualification case questioning the citizenship of Sen. Grace Poe who has been accused of not being a natural-born citizen.
“(Poe) will be a presumptive President whose citizenship is based on presumption. The highest position is reserved for a true-blue Filipino,” Duterte said.
“I cannot accept an American President,” Duterte said.
He said he would still “fill in the gaps” and talk to the members of his political party PDP-Laban led by Sen. Koko Pimentel about his decision.
When asked if he is going to file his candidacy at the Commission on Elections on Monday, Duterte said: “Not yet. I have to make the rounds to fill in the gaps.”
He said it would be a disrespect to members of PDP-Laban and Pimentel who are among those who have been pushing him to run if he does not talk to them about his decision. “Let’s see,” Duterte said when asked if his decision was final.
He said he would change his mind unless the SET reverses its ruling or Poe shows the public her real mother.
“Show me your real mother and I will even campaign for you,” Duterte said.
“I can’t allow them to f–k the people and to destroy the Constitution. I respect the SET but the ruling is totally wrong,” said Cayetano, quoting Duterte.
“If you disregard the Constitution, that’s just wrong. Because of that he’s running. He’ll no longer allow what’s happening,” the senator added, still quoting Duterte.