Sara or bust

Duterte will only give way if daughter replaces him as mayor in 2016

MAYOR RODRIGO Duterte claimed he will run again unless daughter, and former chief executive Sara Duterte-Carpio, will replace him in 2016.

Speaking at a Christmas program in Bangkal last Thursday, his endorsement of Duterte- Carpio was due to his full confidence that she can continue the current programs his administration has started, particularly in terms of peace and order.

“If Inday will not run, I cannot retire. I cannot let go of these programs yet,” he said, adding that

the former mayor remains the best bet because she already has a “feel” for the city.

“Only Inday can do it,” he has said.

Duterte was his daughter’s vice mayor from 2010- 2013 after he completed three straight terms last 2001 to 2010. Duterte- Carpio in prior interviews declined to comment about her political plans for 2016.

Despite various calls for some sectors to leave local politics and gun for Malacanang, the mayor has time and again said that he’s not interested in a national position, much less the presidency.

However, he said that he’s willing to become the face of the movement pushing for federalism in the country.

“I am not interested [in the presidency], my battle cry is federalism,” he said at the sidelines of the summit on federalism in Grand Men Seng hotel earlier this month. Duterte he will support a presidential candidate who is federalism- oriented.

While he has not named a candidate, he has opened up about what he intended to do if he were to become president of the country.

“I’ll give you 6- 10 months to talk about federalism. If I see no change, I will abolish Congress,” he said.

Meeting rebels halfway

Amid his denials, however, Duterte promised that if he does win a presidential election, he would not form a communist government but instead opt for a coalition government with rebel groups, hoping for a federal “republican form of government” and “a real democracy.”

He said he was willing to meet the rebels halfway regarding their ideologies but without surrendering the basic fundamentals of a basic democratic country.

“We have a common program with the communists,” Duterte said, adding that he was willing to talk to the rebel groups, Moro groups included. “We will come to an agreement with finality,” he said.

The mayor even went on to say that the Philippines should not have to obey everything that other countries dictate, saying he would recognize North Korea if it were up to him.

“We should be able to chart our own course and not follow everything that the Americans tell us to do,” Duterte said. “Nothing will happen if we always follow them.”

The city mayor clarified, too, that while he has thought of abolishing Congress, he would still need a recommendatory body similar to the branch that would advise him of policy decisions. He also insisted on keeping control of the armed forces and law enforcement.

“Nobody should hold the money, including the president,” he said.

The clarifications came after the NPA reportedly said it was supportive of Duterte’s candidacy at its anniversary celebration last week in Surigao.

He said he was sympathetic to the plight of the poor, including agrarian reform beneficiaries who have been asking for land since former President Corazon Aquino granted the reform in the 1980s.

Duterte insisted, however, that all this talk of the presidency was “fictional.”