Potential presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was expected to get his biggest national exposure – and farther push his survey ratings up–
when he attends as a special guest of the City Government of Manila during the celebration of Araw ng Maynila on June 24.
We will invite him to celebrate with us the Araw ng Maynila, said Manila City Vice Mayor Isko Moreno at the Straight To The Point radio program on DXDC- RMN in Davao City on Tuesday morning.
By inviting Duterte to the Manila City anniversary as a special guest, Moreno could be tripping on a ticklish path with heavy political undertones.
Former President now Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada, chair of the opposition United Nationalists Alliance (UNA), has publicly announced he is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay in the presidential derby in 2016.
Binay is a front-runner in surveys for presidential preference but is mired in a multi-billion peso corruption scandal that could take a heavy toll on his presidential bid. The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is investigating Binay for alleged anomalies in construction of multi-million pesos government projects when he was mayor of Makati City, among others. His son, incumbent Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay is also accused of the same anomalies and has recently been suspended for six months by the Office of the Ombudsman.
BINAY VS DUTERTE
Analysts say they are looking to a Binay vs. Duterte battle for the presidency in 2016.
In a recent survey by Pulse Asia, perennial topnotcher Binay lost 4 % from a previous survey but retained his lead at 29 %; Senator Grace Poe upped her rating to 19%.
The biggest surprise was Duterte who placed third at 12 percent in a tie with Estrada.
The Binay-Duterte clash is inevitable, according to political analysts, citing that Poe has said she was not ready for the presidency and with the administration Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino having second thoughts about fielding Interior Secretary Mar Roxas who is a consistent cellar-dweller in surveys.
MAR OUT, RODY IN
There are talks that the Liberal Party may dump Roxas, defeated by Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race, and pick Duterte, a party stalwart, as its standard bearer.
Despite strong clamor for him to run and the high rating in the survey, Duterte, however, has stuck to his previous statement that he is not running for President in 2016.
While in Manila as guest during the city’s founding anniversary, Duterte was expected to make a round of speaking engagements to promote his advocacy to shift to a federal form of government from the present highly-centralized Unitary Presidential, said Duterte’s aides who want to be anonymous.
He will also keep an eye on how strong he could be as a presidential candidate even in an area perceived as opposition country, said his aides.
Due to his political alliance with Estrada, vote-rich Manila is widely perceived as a Binay bailiwick.ALL-OUT FOR DUTERTE, FEDERALISM
Moreno, in Davao City for a pre-Holy Week visit, also told radio program host June Duterte, that he is all-out in support for a shift to a federal form of government which Duterte has been espousing as a cure to the country’s woes.
Duterte is on a Holy Week break after five months of a cross-country tour to promote Federalism. He has visited almost all key cities from Mindanao to Luzon. Manila is yet to be visited by Duterte’s “Listening Tour,” a series of speaking engagements and forums where the Davao City mayor sells the idea of Federalism.
Moreno echoed Duterte’s line that a Federal form of government could lead to peace and order and equitable distribution of national wealth, main points of Duterte’s pitch for a federal form of government against the present Presidential form.
CRIME, GRAFT & CORRUPTION
Duterte’s rating in surveys apparently was inspired by his strong campaign against crime and corruption and the wonders his more that 20 years as mayor has done to Davao City, now considered as the premier city in Mindanao and one of the most peaceful and progressive in the country.
While Federalism is at the core of his speeches, the Listening Tour has now morphed into a venue for the thousands that attended the events to demand that Duterte run for President in 2016.
Critics say the Listening Tour is actually a political vehicle for a Duterte presidency no matter that the mayor insists he is not interested in Malacanang.
Moreno, a party mate of Estrada whose 3-year term as Vice Mayor ends in 2016, has dumped a mayoral run after Estrada said he is seeking reelection and doused speculations he will seek the presidency in 2016.
Moreno said he respected the decision of Estrada but was mum about his political plans for the next election.
Reports said that with Estrada seeking reelection, Moreno may take a crack at a Senate seat or run for Congress.
In the interview with broadcaster Duterte, Moreno said he thinks a paradigm shift to a Federal type of governance may be what the country needs.
He cited the United States as among countries with an effective federal type of government.
He said a short course on governance he recently attended in a foreign university pushed federalism as an alternative form of government that could minimize corruption and allow equal distribution of national wealth among the federated states.
He said under the present system the highly-centralized national government controls the public purse that is vulnerable to thievery by corrupt government officials.
The government spends much time, money and effort to send to jail corrupt officials who, after an election, are replaced by new officials initially perceived as honest who would later be swallowed by bureaucratic kleptocracy, said Moreno repeating an analysis he gathered from the forum on governance.
Electing new officials to replace the corrupt is futile effort to weed out corruption, he said. What we need is a system change.
Moreno said under a federal system, corruption could be eliminated with public money guarded by the federal states themselves and not sent first to Manila to be gobbled up by corrupt officials.