MANILA, Philippines – Stressing his refusal to run in 2016 yet again, tough-talking Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte announced that Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Senator Grace Poe were more than welcome to bicker among themselves for the presidency since he is too old for a political circus.
“It’s not time anymore,” ABS-CBN quoted him as saying over the weekend. “Binay, Poe, and Mar, the presidency is all yours.”
All three officials have thrown brickbats at each other and are facing their own issues.
Binay is facing charges of corruption, Roxas is consistently lagging behind the electoral surveys, and Poe is grappling with questions about her citizenship and qualification to run for office.
Too Old, Too Poor
In again reiterating his refusal, Duterte said he is prevented from mounting a credible run at the presidency due to his old age, insufficiency of funds, and opposition coming from his own family.
He also pleaded for the public to just let him rest; saying he might die due to the many problems he would have to face were he to become president.
“I have had six heart attacks,” he said. “If I become president, I have to deal with the Bangsamoro and with China.”
The Philippines is currently embroiled with China in a territorial spat over the resource-rich and strategically important West Philippine Sea. On the other hand, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) has garnered controversy following the deaths of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) commandos at the hands of rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front last January.
An Inutile President
With so many problems dividing the Philippines, Duterte said he does not want to be remembered as an inutile President in case he fails to uplift the country.
“Please not me. Don’t give me the opportunity to add to the hardships of the country,” he said. “I will just add to the inutility of Estrada, Arroyo, and Aquino.”