DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II should not win in the May 9, 2016 elections because of the “dirty politics” that Roxas practiced as shown by the black propaganda that the mayor is suffering from throat cancer.
“Maghintay lang kayo ng panahon na sabihin ko sa buong Pilipinas kung bakit itong tao na ito, hindi ito pwedeng maging presidente [Just you wait for the time when I will tell the whole Philippines why this man should not be President,]” Duterte said in a radio interview Friday.
While Duterte admitted that he had Buerger’s disease due to smoking and a spinal problem as a result of a motorcycle accident but he insisted that he is not suffering from cancer and allegations that he did deeply hurt him and his family.
“My wife and my children were hurt. They don’t realize how deeply,” Duterte said. “It never crossed my mind that I will be attacked. It was very dirty indeed.”
The 70-year-old mayor said the matter was personal for their family because his ex-wife Elizabeth has cancer and recently went abroad for a bypass.
“Maybe [Roxas’] camp really believed I will run [so] they started to hit me very early in a very, very dirty way,” Duterte said, adding that he did not expect the personal attack because he and Roxas were both congressmen during the 11th Congress.
“I am mad at them. I will reveal why he should not be President,” Duterte repeated, explaining that he entertained the idea of running because there are very few choices.
“The vote may be wasted with Grace [Poe] because she may get disqualified while [Vice President Jejomar] Binay may be sent to jail and he won’t be able to campaign,” the mayor said.
“This Mar Roxas may realize that he needs to discipline his people, but it will be very costly,” Duterte said, declining to elaborate.
But Roxas swore Saturday he had nothing to do with rumors that Duterte had cancer.
“Peksman [Cross my heart], I had nothing to do with it… To my friend Mayor Digong [Duterte’s nickname] I can look at you in the eye and say that I have nothing to do with the black propaganda against you,” Roxas told repoters in Koronadal City.
Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez, spokesman of Roxas’ slate, also denied Roxas had anything to do with the rumors.
“It is not in the character of Secretary Mar to spread this kind of stories, especially against one of his old friends. If you recall, his own father and brother both died of cancer so he is very sensitive to this issue,” Gutierrez said.
“Even [journalist] Philip Lustre himself said he is not connected to the camp of Secretary Roxas,” Gutierrez said, referring to the man who broke the rumor that Duterte had cancer on his Facebook account.
But even presidential candidate Grace Poe blamed the Roxas camp of spreading rumors that she was abusive and was an alcoholic who underwent rehabilitation.
Poe complained in public in August that while the Liberal Party was trying to woo her, but was spreading black propaganda against her.
“I told [Roxas], you know Mr. Secretary, we can talk directly you and I, but you really have people who are really stabbing me in the back,” she said.
Last month, local newspaper Mindanao Examiner quoted Duterte as saying that in a “previous articles wrote (by the PR man), he has labelled Vice President Jejomar Binay a thief, Senator Grace Poe an upstart, and called me the Philippines’ version of Cambodian monster Pol Pot and made fun of my thick Visayan accent when I speak Tagalog.”
Duterte branded the report as “unfounded and malicious.” He said the article is a glaring proof of how corrupt the nation has become.
“Corruption is no longer a monopoly of politicians and those who are in government service; it has already permeated almost every fabric of the Philippine society. Greed for material gains has corrupted religious groups, the police and military, the judiciary, the prisons, and the private sector,” said Duterte in the news article.
“Worse, the press and media, supposed to be the conscience of our society and mirrors of who we are, have allowed themselves to be instruments in distorting the truth, all for the love of the scent of money. Painting others black in order to look white is now the name of the game in the social media, including mainstream media with pseudo-journalists writing and broadcasting lies to advance the interests of their political patrons,” Duterte further said.
“It is not fair to paint Binay, Poe and Duterte black just so Mar Roxas would appear white. Mar Roxas, should he really want to be President, must stand on what he has done, his record of government service, his competence and his plans for the country.”
Duterte stood by his decision not to run for President, saying he is a man of his word.
He also dismissed reports that he is planning a dramatic last-minute comeback in December and become a substitute candidate for Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption chairman Martin Dino who filed his CoC to run for President as a member of Duterte’s PDP-Laban party.
“That is not my game,” Duterte said. “I do not fool city, especially as a public official. There is no truth to that substitute angle, I am an original,” he said.
But his supporters remained hopeful Duterte will change his mind and run for President.
“Don’t lose your hope. He will not abandon us and God will find a way to save the Philippines,” said Desiree Masagca, a follower of Duterte, on social media.
But for Buddy Cordero of Cabuyao City, Laguna “Too many dramas, too many rumors. Nakakainis na. Duterte sounds like maarte.”
“Rumors circulates everywhere. There he was in Intramuros, there he was in Manila Hotel. Then he came late because of traffic, and because of a delayed flight. In fairness, I followed this Duterteserye. Too many get disapointed but some are hopeful, mala Aldub in the works,” said Allison Lopez of Makati City.
Election officials said Duterte may still run for President since he is a member of PDP-Laban and has until Dec. 10 to decide.
They said under the Commission on Elections rules, only party-mates or those from same coalitions may substitute for one another.
But Duterte said “when I have already spoken, that wil be it. The people know it already, they just refuse to accept it. They should just forget me,” Duterte said.
Youth organization Anakbayan on Saturday asked Duterte to continue his advocacies even as he announced his final decision not to run for President.
The group also acknowledged Duterte’s commitment pushing for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and address the root causes of rebellion in the country.
“His commitment to pursuing just and lasting peace by addressing the root causes of the armed revolution should be picked up by other presidential candidates and should be a major agenda in the 2016 elections,” said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan chairman.
Crisostomo expressed admiration for Duterte’s audacious leadership style and noted his support to the progressive mass movement especially in Davao.
“Mayor Duterte is not someone who settles for empty rhetoric but has matched his talk with action,” said Crisostomo.
He cited the mayor’s repeated calls for the resumption of the peace talks, his condemnation of military harassment and killing of lumad leaders as well as his role in the release of various prisoners of wars in Mindanao.