BY ROGER M. BALANZA
“If you elect me as president … I will not be like other presidents, “ said Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte over a loud nationwide call for him to run for president in 2016.
“If you want me to be like them, then forget me. You do not need me,” Duterte said in a forum on federalism in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte on February 11.
Duterte was in Dipolog City as part of the Zamboanga Peninsula leg of his advocacy promoting a shift to a federal form of government as the answer to the country’s woes.
Dubbed as “Listening Tour,” the nationwide caravan has already covered many parts of Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon.
While federalism is at the core of his speeches, Duterte has taken the gatherings as a venue to say that he has not yet made a decision about running for President in 2016.
In his speech before a crowd of nearly 1,000 people including local officials of Dipolog City, Duterte said he could not run for President because he lacked funds to run a presidential campaign.
Duterte, undefeated in political battles since he joined politics in 1988 in his home city of Davao, said he does not have P10 billion to P15 billion to win the election.
“I am not a candidate for anything. Just forget it. I don’t even have the money to launch a three-day campaign,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he would not also ask donors to run his campaign machinery.
Earlier in Davao City, Duterte said he does not want his campaign fired by donations if he decides to run because there will be ‘pay back’ time for political campaign contributors who most likely would ask him for favors if he wins the presidency.
That’s not how I am. So if I will run, I will not ask for money. No way, Duterte repeated his stand on political contributions in his Dipolog City speech.
However, Duterte gave a preview of what he would do if he wins the presidency.
“If you elect me, I will try to fix the government.”
If I cannot get the reforms that I want in 6 months to one year, I will declare a revolutionary government and close down Congress. Then I’ll fix everything, Duterte said.
LISTENING TOUR. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (second from right) is on a nationwide caravan to promote federalism. He is joined by Zamboanga del Norte Vice Gov. Senen Angeles (left) and Gov. Roberto Uy (right). SAMUEL AMATONG/ZN PROVINCIAL INFORMATION CENTER