The word war between Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and former Interior secretary Mar Roxas could lead to a windfall for Vice President Jejomar Binay in the 2016 race to the Presidency.
Duterte said that he will support Binay if he is disqualified to run by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“If I am disqualified I will campaign for Binay,” Duterte told Davao City-based journalists on Tuesday, December 15, as he continued to fire verbal missiles at Roxas, standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino.
Last week, Roxas sparked the word war with Duterte by saying that claims about Davao City being the safest city in the country was a myth.
Reacting, Duterte threatened to spank Roxas if they crossed paths and disputed his claim as a graduate of Wharton School of Economics.
Duterte also said Roxas is a weakling and could not stand stress based on his performance as Interior secretary during rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts for victims of super typhoon Yolanda.
Roxas said he was ready for a slapping duel with Duterte.
The presidential bid of Duterte of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP), is still in limbo.
The Comelec said it will decide on Wednesday, December 16, on a petition filed with the poll body seeking to disqualify Duterte from the presidential derby.
The petition sought to bar Duterte as a substitute candidate for erstwhile PDP presidential bet Martin Dino who has withdrawn his Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
Earlier, Duterte said he would not contest the decision of the Comelec if he is disqualified from running.
The 2016 presidential race is a 5-way contest between Duterte, Roxas and Binay of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), independent Senator Grace Poe and Senator Miriam Santiago.
Poe already has been disqualified from running in rulings by two divisions of the Comelec on grounds that she failed to meet the residency and citizenship requirement of a candidate running for President.
Poe said she would raise her case to the Supreme Court if the Comelec en banc denies her motion for reconsideration against the rulings of the poll body’s First Division (3-0) and Second Division (2-1).
Duterte pitching camp with Binay if he is disqualified could be another fatal blow to the presidential bid of Roxas, a perennial cellar dweller in surveys for presidential preference.
In the latest survey covering MetroManila conducted by Social Weather Station (SWS) topped by Duterte with 38 percent, Roxas was at the bottom with 15 percent.
Binay and Poe shared the second spot with 21% each.