Philippine presidential aspirant Mayor Rodrigo Duterte appeared to be fighting back tears as people wept outright listening to him speak of Filipino hardships in the hands of corrupt officials, drug lords, and common criminals, at his Toledo City rally in Cebu on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Thousands of supporters jammed the Parola or lighthouse site of Toledo City to hear Duterte’s plan to eradicate the drug problem within three to six months of his presidency, and maintain a cash transfer program for the poor.
With no endorsements from any of the incumbent Cebu officials, Duterte took his impassioned message directly to the people many of whom wept openly in response to his words.
“Why am I here? I am here because I love my country, and I love the people of the Philippines.”
According to Sunstar, Toledo City Mayor Sonny Osmeña withheld his endorsement due to a prior commitment to Duterte-rival Vice President Jejomar Binay. However, Osmeña promised not to stand in the way of other Toledo City officials backing his old friend Duterte.
The Toledo City mayor even went to the extent of predicting a Duterte win in Cebu. With 2.7 million registered voters many of whom rallied and wept for Duterte, Cebu is the most vote-rich province in the country. According to The Freeman, Osmeña explained why Duterte will corner the Cebuano votes in the May 9 election.
“He is a Cebuano. He has grabbed the imagination of the Visayas.”
On November 11, 2013, Duterte met reporters at the Davao City airport upon his return from Tacloban City ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. He wept as he described the extent of the devastation, which affected 1,473,251 families, with a casualty count of 6,300.
“I do not mean to be… God must have been somewhere else or he forgot that there is a planet called Earth.”
As one of the first mayors responding to the survivors’ plight, Duterte flew P7 million in cash relief to Tacloban and personally led a team of Davaoeño doctors, nurses, and armed personnel to render aid. That he wept as he helped the victims was the buzz among reporters speculating on the crime-busting mayor’s “soft heart” for suffering and injustice.
According to Inquirer, another instance of Duterte showing his softer side occurred at a meet with Cotabato City officials on May 27, 2015. After explaining “federalism” to hundreds of attendees, the Davao City mayor was ready to leave the stage when he was stopped by lawyer Ranibai Dilangalen of the Duterte for President Movement-Cotabato City and Maguindanao chapter, one of the groups that cajoled and wept for the reluctant presidential contender to go ahead and run. Dilangalen said this:
“Mayor President, we will officially start today our small effort to help you and the country. We will launch the ‘Piso para sa Presidente’ (Peso for President).”
Another group member, Mohamad Ali Datumanguda, handed Duterte a small woven basket filled with P1 coins. Duterte froze for a moment, his face turning red, and then he visibly wept. He’d used financial limitations as an excuse not to run. He stood at the podium of the Cotabato Polytechnic State University gymnasium and made the following statement.
“I don’t know what to say. I am really, really surprised. Thank you for having me here. The presidency is not in my plans, but if I become President, I assure you, one of your feet is in Malacañang.”
While Datumanguda explained how the “Piso para sa Presidente” campaign would tap Moro communities for P1 donations toward the P10 billion Duterte would need for a presidential campaign, an old man counted P8 from his pocket. He threw one coin into the basket containing over P100 in coins to kickstart Duterte’s fundraiser. The old man’s words had the same impact as when Duterte wept.
“My fare back home is P7. I can still contribute P1 for Duterte.”
On February 25, 2016, Duterte visited his ancestral home of Danao City in Cebu, where his forebears had lived. Staging a campaign sortie, he wept at the thousands of people who showed up to hear him speak.
[Photo via Facebook]