DAVAO CITY – Thousands of supporters of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte gathered Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand while followers have also stormed the social media making #Duterte2016 top the Twitter around 6:40 pm on Saturday.

The rally, held at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila started at around 2:00 pm, was the next move of Duterte’s supporters, even as he said that he will not run for president.

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Duterte who previously said that he will not be joining the rally was in Zamboanga “to assist the kidnapping case” of the three foreigners and a Filipina who were taken by armed men in a luxury resort in Samal Island last Monday night.

In a text message read by retired Army general Hermogenes Esperon  at around 5:50 pm Duterte informed the crowd that he is in Zamboanga and asked his supporters to give him time to think.

“Tiniis daw ninyo ang init at ulan, at ako ay humihingi ng paumanhin. Andito ako sa Zamboanga City dahil tumulong ako sa paghanap ng solusyon sa kidnapping na nangyari sa Samal Island nung Lunes. Maraming maraming salamat po. I hear your clamor loud and clear (They said you braved the heat and the rain, and I’m asking for apologies. I am in Zamboanga City to assist in finding solution related to the kidnapping incident in Samal Island last Monday. Thank you very much.),” said Duterte.

Duterte also said he knows the public wants “an alternative to those who now present themselves with their ambition to lead the country.”

“I have repeatedly said that I do not have ambitions to be your president. Leaders answer not their self- interest or their personal glory. Leaders respond to duty and moral obligation,” he added.

Duterte then asked for more time for him to “do some final soul-searching with myself and my family.”

“Sa konting panahon na lang po, haharap ako sa bansa at sa inyong lahat. At magdedesisyon ako ng buong kalooban at mula sa puso. Pangako ko sa inyo – hinding hindi ko kayo pababayaan (It will not take long when I will face all of you. And I will decide fully and from the heart. I promise you I will not abandon you),” said the mayor.

The message posted by Duterte’s spokesperson, former city councilor Peter Tiu Laviña on his Facebook account has been shared and liked more than one thousand times as of 7:50 pm Saturday, while the #Duterte2016 had 1,966,830 reach and 2,641,635 impressions.

The event dubbed “million people’s march” aimed to gather a million support to encourage Duterte to run as president.(davaotoday.com)

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