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Duterte wins adherents for Fed and Presidency

By JERRY DUREZA

DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continued to give a categorical answer on whether or not he will run for President in 2016. The first time that he has come close to a positive reply was when he was interviewed at ‘Give Us This Day’ televised program of Pastor Apollo C. Quibiloy.


In response to a text message which urged him to run for President, Mayor Duterte told the TV audience and those from the gallery watching the show live to first seriously consider those from the “North”, meaning Binay, Roxas and Poe, and that if any of the three does not meet the their expectation then look “South” obviously referring to himself.

He repeated the same suggestive response when he spoke in Dagupan where he added that he “is willing to run to save the country from being fractured”.

But just when the Duterte watchers start to celebrate, the shrewd mayor would issue another statement in yet another forum that as far as he is concerned the Presidency is “a long shot”.

Over the weekend in Rockwell, Makati where Duterte was invited to speak before Metro Manila’s Architects and Construction moguls, the Mayor focused his talk on Federalism, crime and punishment. He gave a bit of history on how the present unitary government was handed down from Spanish conquestadores and perpetuated by the Americans.

“The unitary system was meant to tighten control on the Filipinos. When we were ceded to the Americans, they did not change the system to Federal because they want to deal only with the central government”, Duterte said. The mayor explained that the conflict in Mindanao can be effectively and permanently addressed under the Federal System.

Duterte had two other speaking engagements with two Rotary International District Conferences, the first with southern Luzon Rotarians which was held in Sofitel Hotel in Manila and the recent one with Eastern Visayas and Eastern Mindanao Rotarians at the SMX convention hall in Lanang, Davao City.

The mayor again asked his audience to support the Federal System of government stressing that only when the regions will be given just autonomy will they be able to make and implement their own plans according their needs and not on the whims of the central government.

He also enunciated that under a Federal System the regional governments or states will retain at least 60 percent of the revenues collected and remit only 40% to the central government for its upkeep.

Duterte lamented that under the present set up the local government units remits all collections to the national treasury and wait for their share which will come as internal revenue allotment.

But what interest his audience is when he talks about how he deals with criminal elements. Answers to random interviews conducted by the Mindanao Journal among the participants on what interest them most in Duterte’s extemporaneous speech reveals why they wanted to see and listen to the Mayor in person.

They wanted to see him close and feel his pulse. The mayor never ran short of expletives when he explains on how he deals with criminals. He confessed that he ran afoul of the Commission of Human Rights but reasons out that he “would rather go to hell so that my constituents will be in paradise”.

In each of his speaking engagements, a brief video about the mayor as a courageous political leader and as a person with a soft heart for the afflicted is shown on a wide screen. The video clip also shows UP Prof. Clarita Carlos spoke highly of Duterte as a man of determination and political will and being intelligently courageous.

This week Mayor Duterte will fulfill a speaking engagement in Ormoc City and then with the Association of Generals and Flag Officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines next.
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