DAVAO CITY— On April 9, Mayor Duterte declared his support for Noynoy Aquino as President before a crowd that filled the entire Veteran’s rotunda on one end of Ponciano street.
“I decided to support Noynoy Aquino for President,” Duterte said. “Aquino is easy to talk with. He is a principled man and clean.”
“Why don’t we, Davaoeños, choose a President who is a simple man like us?” he asked.
Lawyer Carlos Zarate, secretary general of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, said Duterte chose the one most likely to win among the ‘presidentiables’ to ensure his group’s political survival. “If (vice mayor) Sara (Duterte) wins, they would see to it how they will collaborate with the national candidates,” Zarate said.
Zarate said that Duterte could have supported Joseph Estrada who is Duterte’s friend, “but Duterte did not,” he observed. Estrada has been trailing behind Aquino and Manny Villar of the Nationalista Party in the surveys conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey in an end of March survey.
Zarate said Duterte’s endorsement for Aquino was a calculated move.
It took Duterte quite a long time before he announced his candidate for President.
His daughter Sara, who is running for mayor, told the crowd that in December, Liberal Party’s vice presidential bet Manuel Roxas and Aquino invited her to Roxas’ residence and asked her to support their candidacy.
“I told them not to forget Davao and Mindanao,” Sara said.
Soledad Duterte or Nanay Soleng, Mayor Duterte’s mother and Sara’s grandmother, was a civic leader who once headed President Cory Aquino’s Yellow Friday Movement in Davao City.
In 1988, when Duterte first ran for mayor, it was his opponent Zafiro Respicio that had the full backing and endorsement of the Aquino administration and Davao businessman Jesus V. Ayala, a staunch Cory supporter.