No interest to be president, says Duterte minutes before deadline

President Benigno S. Aquino III is received by Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., upon arrival for the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Philippine M.I.C.E. Conference (MICECON 2013) at the 3rd Floor, SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premiere in Davao City on Thursday (March 07, 2013). The MICE Conference is a prestigious gathering of key players in the travel and tourism industry. The conference will provide the Host an opportunity to showcase its destinations to approximately 400 stakeholders in the tourism industry comprised of: travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, resort owners, professional congress/ exhibition/event organizers, association/corporate executives, destination management companies, airline representatives, local government officials, academe, students and the media. (MNS photo)).

President Benigno S. Aquino III is received by Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr., upon arrival for the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Philippine M.I.C.E. Conference (MICECON 2013) at the 3rd Floor, SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang Premiere in Davao City on Thursday (March 07, 2013). The MICE Conference is a prestigious gathering of key players in the travel and tourism industry. The conference will provide the Host an opportunity to showcase its destinations to approximately 400 stakeholders in the tourism industry comprised of: travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, resort owners, professional congress/ exhibition/event organizers, association/corporate executives, destination management companies, airline representatives, local government officials, academe, students and the media. (MNS photo)).

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Minutes before the deadline of filing for candidacy, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte reiterated that he had no interest in being president.

“A little over two years ago, I posted in the government website over the Internet that I was not interested in the Presidency,” he wrote on his official Facebook account.

“Nothing has changed. I am comfortable where I am now.”

Speculation was rife on Friday about a Duterte run, with rumors flying that he was en route to Manila to beat the Commission on Elections deadline.

But a highly-placed source said that the mayor remained in Davao City. His executive assistant Bong Go confirmed this as well in a radio interview.

By the 5 p.m. deadline, there was no Duterte COC for president filed with the poll body.

Duterte, who has figured strongly in presidential preference surveys in past months, has repeatedly denied interest in the presidency, even as supporters kept urging him to run.

His representatives had, in fact, filed his certificate of candidacy for re-election on Thursday in Davao City.

But that same day, Duterte’s supporters remained hopeful that he would seek the presidency.

Men shaved their heads — as his daughter, Sara, did — to signify their support. “Darating ‘yun” and “Nandito na sa Manila” were responses tossed around outside Palacio del Gobernador, where the Comelec is receiving COCs for national elective posts.

Their tarpaulin signs were posted outside the Palacio even after the office had closed Thursday.

Then on Friday, fresh hope for his followers sprung when Duterte’s daughter Sara posted a photo of her own COC for the Davao post, saying she would file it if her dad changes his mind and files for president.

But in his Facebook post, he said his only options were to be Davao mayor or to retire.

“If Inday Sara would want it, she has the choice of running in 2016 or the next election. Personally, the earlier the better. I want to retire. I am tired. Give the presidency to the one who wants it. I don’t,” he said. (MNS)

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