MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte remained coy about his plans for 2016 but admitted that he sees himself as a possible ''alternative'' to the other front-runners in the race.
Duterte said while he has no plans yet to run for president, he might see himself throwing his hat in the ring later on if it becomes a ''moral'' obligation for him to seek the presidency.
''Look at [Vice President Jejomar] Binay, his qualities, and [Senator Grace] Poe, her gentleness. Tignan muna nila. Kapag wala na kayong mapili, then you look towards Mindanao and I will start to think about it,'' Duterte told ANC.
''Maybe when I'm really morally bound, [I will run]."
Duterte said at this point, he does not see himself as a candidate, but he might run if there will be no other choice. He, however, said this scenario is unlikely because Binay and Poe are there.
''Nandyan lang siguro ako. Let me be the fourth choice. I'd like to advise our countrymen that they can always go for Poe or Binay. Kung wala na kayong ibang makita, o talagang it' s a case of moral issue then maybe I'll think about it,'' he said.
Among Binay, Duterte, and Poe, only the vice-president has so far declared his bid for presidency.
Duterte said his improved numbers in presidential preference surveys have failed to convince him to take the plunge.
''Ratings do not really bother me, whether I am at the lower end or high end of the list. I haven't really decided to run for the presidency if that is what is being asked of me. Categorically, no. First, because my family doesn’t want it,'' he said.
Duterte, now 70, also said his old age is among his considerations.
''I don’t know if it is now the time to retire or go for something troublesome and make you crazy like the presidency,'' he said.
In the latest Pulse Asia survey, Duterte emerged as the third most-favored choice to become president, obtaining a rating of 15%.
He emerged as the fourth choice in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, getting 20%, a point below third placer, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
In a previous interview, however, Duterte said he might run if he will overtake then-frontrunner Binay in the surveys.
The mayor, known for his high-handed style of governance, said in case he becomes president, he would institute reforms that would make reduce hurdles in the bureaucracy.
Duterte lamented that the present system has obstructed the delivery of service to the people.
He said if he fails to institute reforms in a year's time, he will leave his post.
''Hindi ako uupo dyan tapos after 6 years sabihin ko, 'My beloved countrymen I did my best but it wasn’t good enough,''' he said.
''If some guys will make it hard for me to institute reforms, if they make it impossible for me to deliver what I promised, I will not sit there. Ibigay na lang niyo sa iba."