Duterte seeks time for 'final soul-searching'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2015 11:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 27 2015 09:23 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) – After ruling out a bid for the presidency, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday asked his supporters, who gathered at the Quirino Grandstand, for more time to do some ''final soul searching.''

Duterte's supporters held a gathering Saturday in the hopes of convincing the tough-talking mayor of Davao City to run for president in 2016.

In a text message read by former Armed Forces chief General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to the crowd, Duterte expressed his thanks to his followers.

Duterte apologized for not making it to the gathering, saying he had to join efforts to rescue the three foreigners and a Filipina abducted by armed men earlier this week.

''Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga tao na nagbibgay ng suporta. Tiniis daw ninyo ang init at ulan, at ako ay humihingi ng paumanhin. Andito ako sa Zamboanga City dahil tumulong ako sa paghanap ng solusyon sa kidnapping na nangyari sa Samal Island ning Lunes," Duterte said.

Duterte again reiterated that he's not interested in running for president.

''I hear your clamor loud and clear. I know you want an alternative to those who now present themselves with their ambition to lead the country. I have repeatedly said that i do not have ambitions to be your president. Leaders answer not their self- interest or their personal glory. Leaders respond to duty and moral obligation,” he continued.

Nonetheless, he asked for more time so he could do a "final soul-searching."

''Sa lahat sa kababayan natin, humihingi ako ng konting panahon, so I can do some final soul-searching with myself and my family,'' he said.

''At pagkatapos, sa konting panahon na lang po, haharap ako sa bansa at sa inyong lahat. At magdedesisyon ako ng buong kalooban at mula sa puso. Pangako ko sa inyo - hinding hindi ko kayo pababayaan.''

Duterte's message was also posted on the Facebook page of his spokesperson, Peter Lavina.

DUTERTE: WALA AKONG PERA

Duterte earlier said that he has no plans of seeking the presidency and will retire next year.

He said he consulted this decision with his family and all the people concerned with his political career.

He also cited his lack of finances needed to bankroll a campaign as one of his reasons for not pursuing a presidential bid.

"Ang problema sa akin, ganito. Hindi ako nanghingi ng pera. Wala akong pera; wala akong bilyon na naipon. Wala akong alkansya," he said.

The mayor's statement comes days after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) released the result of its latest pre-election survey.

In the September 2-5 survey of SWS and BusinessWorld, where 1,200 respondents were shown a list with 12 names and asked to pick one, Duterte ranked fourth after getting 11%.

In the latest Pulse Asia survey, which was commissioned by ABS-CBN, Duterte dropped to fourth place but maintained his 15 percent from the previous survey.

'PEOPLE'S CALL'

Today's event was called the ''The People's Call for the People’s President''. It was organized by the MRRD-NECC (Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte - National Executive Coordinating Committee).

Various groups such as the Quezon City Oplan Disiplina, Muslim group Al-Hedaya, and Kingdom of Jesus Christ were also present in the event.

"We are not expecting for a million people to come here, but we are expecting a million people to support Mayor Duterte," said Israel De Castro, one of Duterte's supporters.

Duterte's supporters also assured the mayor that campaign funds won't be a problem.

''We [are] told that there is a group of OFWs that promised to support Mayor Duterte if he will run for president in 2016. Sabi nga nila hindi problema ang pera, tao ang maglalabas niyan para kay mayor,'' said Armelita Dela Cruz, a Duterte supporter from Iligan City.

Organizers and supporters of the event believe that Duterte will still change his mind and consider the appeal of his supporters.

''I believe that he will still consider running… Sabi nga nila hindi tayo nagsasalita ng tapos," said Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre II.

Aguirre added that Duterte is not alone in his fight because he has people who will support him.

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Roberto Lastimoso, meanwhile, believes Duterte is just waiting for the right sign. He is positive that Duterte will eventually throw his hat in the ring.