BY ROGER M. BALANZA
The ‘Duterte for President’ campaign has become a nation-wide fever that can no longer be stopped even if Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has ordered removed in his city all billboards and streamers pushing him to run for President in 2016.
Outside of his territory, Duterte, who has persistently denied he is running for President, is helpless against the tsunami of ‘Duterte for President’ signages that have sprouted all over the country.
The Duterte Pilipinas 2016, the group behind the campaign to convince Duterte to run, claimed it has already gathered more than 10 million signatures in the campaign that spanned Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon. It has distributed streamers, placards and billboards in places the group visited where cross-sectoral groups have joined the drive and offered to set up political machineries in case Duterte changed his mind against running for the presidency in 2016.
In Davao City on Saturday, Duterte said the ‘Duterte for President’ signages that have sprouted all over the city have become an eyesore and wants them removed.
Duterte also said the signages attacked his credibility and may lead people to suspect he is a ‘hipocrite’ because even as he has been denying that he plans to run for the presidency in 2016, the signages – tarpaulins in billboards, streamers and placards — continue to mushroom.
In a hastily-called press conference on Saturday, Duterte said he has ordered the signages erected in the city removed.
But the order may only be limited with Duterte saying he cannot touch streamers pasted on private vehicles and those outside of Davao City.
I have always expressed my disdain about these billboards, he said.
The problem is they are sprouting everywhere and nobody would believe I am not behind them, said Duterte.
His persistent denial, amid the continuing flood of the billboards, according to Duterte, makes him a ‘hypocrite’ before people outside of Davao City.
I do not want to appear like a hypocrite, he said.
Maybe people from Davao will believe that I am not running but in other places, people will think that it is me who is behind them and that I am just playing with my people, Duterte said at the press conference called shortly after he arrived from a 6-day visit to South Korea where he held talks with a company which proposed construction of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Davao City.