Duterte: I may not last 6 years in office

Mike Frialde (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2015 - 9:00am

No Comelec ruling on Poe, Duterte candidacies  

MANILA, Philippines - Is he suffering from a serious illness?

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte himself fueled speculations about his health after telling supporters he may not be able to finish a president’s six-year term if he wins.

 “Nakikita ko na (I can see it). I am 70 years old and I can see my life go. Kung ano ang medisina ninyo, yun din ang medisina ko. Wag kang magtanong kung ano ang sakit ko (Your medicine is my medicine. Don’t ask what my sickness is). Everyone gets sick and everyone has to go. Ako ay 70. In the long stretch, medyo duda ako kung makaabot ako ng (I doubt if I can finish) six years. Makababa pa kaya ako ng Malakanyang na (Can I step down from Malacañang) vertical? Maybe horizontal. And if I win, inshallah (God willing), I will be the first president to enjoy a state funeral,” he told his supporters Tuesday night in an advance Christmas party in Taguig City.

His presidential aspirations – along with those of Sen. Grace Poe – still hang in the balance as the issues raised against their candidacies remain unresolved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with only five days left before the release of the official list of candidates in the May 2016 elections.

Duterte had earlier disclosed that he suffers from Buerger’s Disease, an inflammation of blood vessels mostly in the limbs that has been traced to smoking.

He is also reported to have Barrett’s Esophagus, a more serious form of gastroesophageal reflux, in which the lining of the esophagus is replaced by intestinal tissue.

If not properly managed, Barrett’s Esophagus can progress into a rare cancer called esophageal adencarcinoma.

Duterte has denied suffering from throat cancer and lambasted a journalist who wrote about it. The mayor tagged the writer as a propagandist for Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas, who denied the accusation.

“The presidency, I really don’t care because it’s burdensome. The enormity of the problems of the country is really daunting. I am a lawyer and 22 years the mayor of Davao City. I served as congressman of the first district for one term and I was vice mayor to my daughter, Inday. Ok na ako. Alam ko na lahat (I’m okay, I know it all). As a matter of fact, I can see my life in front of me,” he said.

Duterte again emphasized that he is not bent on seeking the presidency.

“Fate has many faces. Ultimately, I have come to realize that the eternal equation is really destiny. Destiny is not designed by mere mortals like us. It is crafted by God. That is what I understand right now,” he added.

In a radio interview also yesterday, Duterte urged his supporters to consider other candidates first. “Do not think about me, but maybe a week before election time, baka maisipan niyo ako,” he said.

Meanwhile, after a four-hour special meeting yesterday afternoon, the Comelec as a whole failed to decide on the disqualification cases against Poe and on questions on Duterte’s being a substitute candidate of former Violence Against Crime and Corruption chair Martin Diño.

In an ambush interview, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said they were still studying these cases.

“On Dec. 14 we will again meet. What I did (during the meeting) was – what are the issues that we have to study? So I told them, let’s take the weekend to think about these issues,” he said.

Pending at the Comelec is the motion for reconsideration filed by Poe concerning the decision of the Second Division to disqualify her from next year’s presidential elections filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

In the First Division, Poe is also facing three disqualification cases filed by former senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle Universtiy professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

Bautista earlier stated that they would try to decide on the validity of Duterte’s substitution while a disqualification case against him is pending before the First Division. This was not resolved during yesterday’s meeting.

In a separate interview, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said they have not started discussing Duterte’s substitution because there is a hearing on Dec. 16 by the First Division. This involves the disqualification case filed against him by broadcaster Ruben Castor.

“Not yet. Because we have a hearing on Wednesday, so there’s a case. So we still have to hear the case of Mayor Duterte,” said Guanzon, a member of the First Division.

Asked about a possible extension of the Dec. 15 timeline for the release of the names of the official candidates, Guanzon answered in the negative.

“I don’t think so, if there’s a change in the deadline, in the calendar,” she maintained. Comelec is eyeing to start ballot printing by late January or early February 2016.

Guanzon also said that they are still looking into Poe’s three other disqualification cases.

“It (decision) should be at the latest, maybe by next Tuesday. Because we have to continue deliberating. There are three cases and we are still deliberating,” she added.

But according to Bautista, even if the cases of Poe and Duterte are not yet resolved, their names can still be included in the official list of candidate.

“If there is no final decision, they should be included,” he added.

OFW Family party-list Rep. Roy Señeres, for his part, made clear yesterday he is not withdrawing his candidacy for president in favor of Duterte.

Señeres also denied reports that Supreme Court Associate Justices Bienvenido Reyes and Jose Mendoza tried to convince him to give his slot to Duterte.

The lawmaker issued the statement on the eve of the last day for substitution of candidacy.

He said Duterte, his fraternity brother, should just settle with substituting for Diño.

Diño filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) using a form reserved for presidential candidates but wrote down that he was running for mayor of Pasay City. – With Robertzon Ramirez

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