DAVAO - Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he is backing calls for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to run for president in 2016, saying the country needs a real leader.
Speaking to radio dzMM, the Nacionalista Party senator said he and his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano, dined with Duterte for three hours on Tuesday night to discuss various issues including peace and order and developing the south.
He said that based on their talks, he feels that Duterte is feeling the burden that the next generation needs a real leader.
"Lahat po ng problema na natanong namin sa kanya, ang ganda po ng solusyon at kung hindi kayang ayusin, inaamin niya. So, tingin ko po, papunta doon sa pagtakbo," Cayetano said.
"As I said, ayaw ko siyang pangunahan pero kung ako po ang tatanungin, I think nafi-feel niya yung burden ng next generation na naghahanap talaga ng tunay na leader."
Cayetano announced Tuesday his plan to run for vice-president in the 2016 election.
He said he and his entire family are adding their voices to the clamor for Duterte to run for president in 2016.
He noted that he and Duterte share the same core values, being both a supporter of federalism and ''real change."
Duterte, who ranked fourth in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia surveys, behind Senator Grace Poe, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, and Vice President Jejomar Binay, remains undecided whether he will run or not for president.
After ''categorically'' ruling out a bid for president, Duterte said over the weekend that he needs more time to do some ''soul-searching." He later clarified that his statement was taken out of context.
CAYETANO ON ROXAS: IT DIDN'T WORK OUT
In the interview, Cayetano confirmed he will not be the running mate of Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas due to differences of opinion on some issues.
Cayetano said he had talks earlier with President Aquino and other LP members on the possibility of running as the party's vice-presidential candidate.
"Nagkausap kami. Nagkausap din kami ni Pangulo, may sarili silang proseso. Kami naman po ng aking supporters sa grassroots, sa Christian community, lalo na sa pamilya ko, hindi na rin po naging komportable. Marami pong issues na magkasama kami pero marami rin pong issues na hindi. Alam niyo naman ako, kapag naniniwala po ako na mali ay lalabanan ko talaga. Asset and liability ko na outspoken ako sa ilang mga issues," he said.
Cayetano admitted he has been an outspoken critic of how the Aquino administration has handled several issues such as the traffic mess and the random inspection of balikbayan boxes. He, however, gave credit to the Aquino administration for doing a lot to curb graft and corruption in the past five years.
"I cannot please everyone pati sa Liberal Party...Hindi naman ako pwedeng tumahimik so that makasama ko sila sa eleksyon na ito," he said.
"To be fair sa ating Pangulo, wala naman siyang dinikta. Wala naman siyang sinabi na dapat ang prinsipyo ay kailangan natin lamunin. It just didn't really work out," he added.
Cayetano earlier admitted that his own family and supporters felt more comfortable that he run as an independent "or with someone they are passionate about."
''As I said, masyado naming naramdaman ang hirap at kakulangan ng malasakit sa ating kababayan."
He also noted that he and Aquino have cleared the air, amid reports that the President does not want him to become Roxas' running mate following their supposed tiff in 2010 where the senator supposedly called Aquino's mental stability into question.
''Na-clear up na namin ng pangulo. I never called him names directly,'' Cayetano said, adding that the president was able to prove his detractors wrong with his work in the last five years.
'MAY THE BEST MAN WIN'
Meanwhile, Cayetano said the race for the VP post will become more challenging after other Nacionalista Party members also announced their plans for 2016.
"Baka ang mangyayari d'yan is, 'may the best man win.' Hindi naman po talaga iyung partido ang tinitingnan, talagang ang support po is nasa grass root," the senator told radio dzMM.
Cayetano is bound to run against fellow NP member Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., also an NP leader, is himself considering a possible run for either the presidency or vice presidency.
Trillanes will run as an independent. Marcos has been eyed by the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) as a running mate though the senator remains non-committal.
Senator Francis Escudero will also run for vice president in a team-up with Senator Grace Poe while Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas continues to woo Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo to be his running mate.