What PNoy thinks of Duterte presidential bid

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

KUALA LUMPUR - What does President Benigno Aquino III think of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte's decision to run for president next year?

In an interview, the President declined to comment on Duterte's presidential bid since he has incomplete information on how the mayor will join the 2016 presidential race.

"Pagdating kay Duterte, ano ba ang tamang impormasyon? Parang magse-speculate na naman ako e. For instance, i-a-adopt siya ng PDP-Laban. Tapos may lumabas na istorya yung kandidato ng PDP Laban nagfile raw for mayor. So pag sinabi ko - pwede ba siya mag-file? Speculation. Wala naman akong kopya ng document," he said.

Duterte earlier said he decided to run for president after the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) voted against a petition to disqualify Senator Grace Poe on the grounds of her citizenship.

He said running for president is now ''on the table'' because the SET decision on Poe's case triggered him to think about his principles.

"Gusto ko lang sabihin sa lahat stop (expletive) with the Filipinos… I have nothing against Grace but if you run for the highest post in the land…it must be reserved for a true-blue Filipino,'' Duterte said.

"If ever you make it, you will be a presumptive president by citizenship. Hindi ko matanggap yung ganun. What will happen when she is disqualified because she is American? Give me an Igorot, an Aeta, a plumber. Kahit ano basta Pilipino.''

Duterte, tatakbo sa pagka-Pangulo sa 2016

Duterte has yet to formally inform the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), particularly its leader Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, of his decision to run for president.

PDP-Laban presidential bet Martin Diño already dropped out of the 2016 race, opening the doors for Duterte to become the party's substitute candidate.

Diño said he decided to withdraw his candidacy because of the Comelec's motu proprio decision to declare him as a nuisance candidate.

Prior to this, the party had chosen Duterte, who missed the October 16 deadline for the filing of certificate of candidacy, to substitute for Diño.


Meanwhile, President Aquino declined to comment on the Senate Electoral Tribunal's (SET) decision to dismiss the quo warranto case against Senator Grace Poe.

"Pwede bang sagutin ko 'yung kay Duterte na parang sagot na rin doon kay Grace dahil, at the end of the day, hindi ako kasama kasi doon sa mga magde-decide eh. If it goes to Comelec, I am not part of an independent body. Of course with the Supreme Court it's the same thing,'' he said, referring to the disqualification case against Poe.

''Alam niyo parang one, hindi ko tangan literally; number two, hindi rin ako ang magde-desisyon eh kaya ang opinyon ko pare-pareho lang ng opinyon natin. Ngayon, kapag lumabas lahat ng facts, siguro mas maliwanag. Now in the Senate, baka katapusan naman sila, I think they should be the ones to explain - why did we decide in this manner?"

The President also reiterated his previous position on Poe's case.

READ: PNoy: Let Poe run

"Pero again I think I have stated it publicly before, Senator Grace wants to run. At the end of day, sovereignty resides in the people. Let the people decide,'' he said.

Voting 5-4, the SET rejected the petition of losing 2013 senatorial bet Rizalito David who said Poe must be disqualified because she is not a natural-born Filipino. David has argued that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino because of her status as a foundling.

Atty. Manuelito Luna, David's legal counsel, said they may file a motion for reconsideration. They may also elevate the issue to the Supreme Court if the manner the SET members who favored Poe are found to be ''political in nature.''

The President also said he is not bothered by the latest election surveys showing his preferred successor, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, still trailing Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Aquino noted that the recent survey results must be put into perspective, noting how Roxas' popularity numbers have improved survey after survey.

He also said Roxas has plenty of time to catch up.

''Depende sa pagtingin 'yan. Hindi ba dati four percent? Iyong four naging 20 plus, times five kaagad iyon pero meron pang lagpas ng 25. May margin of error 'yung survey na kino-quote niyo siguro ulit. Normally, plus or minus three. O 'di sasabihin sayo 'yung diperensiya niya at saka 'yung supposed number two, nandun sa margin of error. In other words, statistically tie,'' he said.

''Malayo pa tayo doon sa eleksyon. Hindi ba ang theme ng kampanya namin 'ituloy ang 'Daang Matuwid'… Ano ba ang napakinabangan ng taong Pilipino dito sa daang matuwid na ito?''

Aquino again reiterated the gains made by his administration, which have improved the lives of many Filipinos.