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EDITORIAL | “Count me out”

The speculation that former President Rodrigo Duterte will be back as mayor of the city was quashed Saturday night when he himself declared, “Count me out.” He said he is too old and he is tired, wanting only to spend more time with his family and grandchildren.

In a press conference last Saturday at the Whitefield function room, Grand Menseng Hotel, the former President, whom the Davao media still calls “mayor” appeared with a cane on one hand and as he slowly edged to the front, he jokingly told the media the, “cripple has arrived.” He said his physical situation was the result of motorbike accidents.

Even before the press conference started, he asked the media to speak louder and clearer, preferably in Bisaya so he could hear properly. Touching his ears, he said, “I cannot hear well, I am old.”

He fielded so many questions, ranging from the International Criminal Court, the possibility of exploratory talks with the National Democratic Front, to the local elections in 2025, which he answered with some kind of resignation. Responding to the ICC investigation on the extrajudicial killings as the result of his war on drugs, the former president said “let them come (ICC)” adding that this international body has not helped a single country after they have done the investigation. He also said the peace talks would really depend on the present administration and has nothing to do with him as he is already out of the picture..

The exchange was cordial and a little bit toned down, unlike the previous press conferences the media were used to in the past decades, when cuss words and sass cut the air.

On the matter of local elections, he said voters should just elect a good leader, a leader of their choice.

“I am old. I am retired,” he repeatedly said throughout the press conference.



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