Mar on Duterte run: Do I look worried?
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential contenders were unfazed by the possible entry of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the race.

“Do I look worried?” was the reply of Liberal Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II when asked yesterday if he felt threatened. 

Roxas regards Duterte’s decision to seek the presidency as a welcome development.

“Welcome to the campaign. It would be great if those who seek to serve or present their platform become part of this contest,” he added.

Roxas said Duterte did not talk to him about his plan to run for president.

“This decision is personal for every candidate,” the administration coalition standard bearer said.

Vice President Jejomar Binay welcomed yesterday Mayor Duterte’s possible presidential run in 2016.

“I’m happy that Mayor Duterte will also run, the people will have more choices,” the Vice President said in an interview in Tondo, Manila yesterday.

Binay said Duterte is “very qualified” to run for the presidency.

“He’s a successful mayor. A good leader,” he said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said Duterte’s plan to run for president “may have some effect” on the campaign of other presidential candidates.

He said Duterte’s strong anti-criminality message appears to resonate with many Filipinos and could have influenced his decision.

“He’s bound to have some effect on the playing field right now. Everybody will just have to make some adjustments,” Belmonte said.

“I don’t want to use the term ‘game changer’… maybe there will be effect on the campaign of the candidates,” he said.

He declined to comment on the legal issues of Duterte’s possible filing or substitution before the Commission on Elections.

He said he believes Duterte’s statements on killing criminals were really more to emphasize his point on the need to act decisively on crime.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said Duterte’s decision would favor Roxas as it will further divide the opposition votes.

“Definitely, he is a negative factor for opposition presidential bets,” Evardone said.

Reacting to Duterte’s announcement that he is open to running for president, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said discussions should go beyond personalities and focus on issues.

“Let’s move the discussion from one of personalities to one of issues-based and that’s where the President wants the whole campaign to be. Let’s talk about issues, let’s talk about your program of government,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda claimed that the administration is clear about what it wants to achieve in the next six years.

“Let’s talk about their platform. Let’s talk about what they are going to do with jobs. We have a clear idea; we have a clear blueprint for those things,” he said.

Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, hit back at Sen. Grace Poe’s running mate Sen. Francis Escudero, who had called on the mayor to stop using the Senate Electoral Tribunal ruling as an excuse to run for president.

The young Duterte reminded Escudero that the senator is a lawyer and that he himself knows the law requires that only natural-born citizens are qualified to run for president. 

“I am certain that Escudero, who is a lawyer himself, knows all too well that Grace Poe cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen and does not satisfy the residency requirement, yet he persistently pushes her to the presidential race. Who’s now using who?” Vice Mayor Duterte said. 

He also pointed out that what his father is stressing is based on the Constitution and not on any selfish interest as that of Escudero’s, being Poe‘s running mate. – With Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Alexis Romero, Delon Porcalla, Edith Regalado, Eva Visperas, Danny Dangcalan

ACIRC ALEXIS ROMERO BEN EVARDONE DANNY DANGCALAN DAVAO CITY MAYOR RODRIGO DUTERTE DUTERTE GRACE POE MAYOR DUTERTE NBSP PRESIDENT ROXAS
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