BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Rodrugo Duterte said former President Fidel V. Ramos has advised him that if he (Duterte) becomes President his rule should gravitate around the principles espoused by national hero Jose Rizal.
If you make it, let Rizal be the guiding light of your governance, Duterte quoted Ramos as telling him during his visit to the Makati office of the former President.
But Duterte, in the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN-Davao on September 6, said he told Ramos that he was not running for President in 2016.
Duterte has emerged as a presidential contender with his strong showing in the surveys, emerging behind top running independent Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and ahead of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of the ruling Liberal Party.
Ramos, Duterte said, did not discuss politics and did not say who he would support in the coming presidential election.
Duterte has to this day left in limbo his decision on whether to run or not.
He has cited family opposition, health, age and logistics as major reasons why he is not joining the race to Malacanang.
The health issue is dismissed by supporters as a weak alibi and close acquaintances say that Duterte, 70, is still “strong as a bull.”
Duterte’s daughter former Mayor Sara Duterte says no but his son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte is supporting his father’s presidential bid.
Duterte may have found an answer to his woes over funding and campaign machinery.
Last week, the Nacionalista Party (NP) of former Senator Manny Villar and the Partidong Demokratiko Pilipino/Laban (PDP/Laban) of former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel forged a coalition to support Duterte for President.
Duterte said Ramos, a prolific writer, gifted him with several of his books, including one about Rizal. Ramos, Duterte said, is a big fan of the national hero.
Ramos’ advice to the mayor was his parting words as Duterte and his chief assistant Christopher “Bong” Go winded up the brief unscheduled visit Friday afternoon before the mayor took a flight back to Davao City.
Duterte’s meeting with Ramos had sparked wide speculations that Duterte’s presidential bid would be at the center of the discussion.
Ramos, chairman of the Lakas/National Union of Christian Democrats/Christian/Muslim Democrats (Lakas/NUCD/CMD), earlier said he would revive the party for the 2016 elections.
The Lakas/NUCD/CMD was the political vehicle that propelled Ramos to the presidency in the 1992 election.
Last year during a visit in Davao City and after a meeting with Duterte and local political leaders, Ramos said he would like the next President to come from Mindanao.