Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is feeling anxious as he faces, for the first time, the four other presidential candidates in the Commission on Elections’ PiliPinas debate here in Cagayan de Oro City today, Sunday.
Duterte admits that the other candidates are good and that being a “probinsyano” mayor, he fears he might not be at par with the likes of Senators Miriiam Defensor-Santiago, Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay and former DILG secretary Mar Roxas on stage.
Duterte said though that he will be coming to the debate prepared with nothing but his good platform of governance and the truth. This would be the first time that all five presidentiables would be facing each other in the debate at the Capitol University here in Cagayan de Oro City.
At past 3 am Sunday, hours before the debate the lone candidate from Mindanao was still wide awake.
“I am very excited, but I am also very nervous,” Duterte admitted, adding that today is a very important day for him as a Mindanawon and as someone who came from the province.
“A very important day for me and for all of us,” he said. “I am a probinsyano, I will be representing Mindanao and the provinces.”
He was nervous, he said, because the other candidates appeared to have prepared well for the Sunday debate.
“I am nervous because I know they are good,” he said even as he refused to disclose how he prepped for the event.
But he swore: “I will not let Mindanao, the provinces, and the entire Philippines down.”
The mayor of Davao reiterated that “I am the Filipino people’s last card.”
Duterte and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, are standing on the political agenda ending corruption in the government, fighting criminalities and maintaining peace and order, and addressing lack of education, and massive poverty, among others.
On Sunday, he said: “I will stand there in defense of the future of the Philippines and the Filipino people. I promise to stand for you. I will never let you down.”
The most-awaited scenario would be the clash between Duterte and Roxas who had been trading barbs for months now.
Supporters of the presidentiables are meanwhile here now in Cagayan de Oro bringing their vehicles with posters of their candidates. As we arrived here yesterday, we saw lots of tricycles called “motorela” with Binay’s name on it.
Hotels are also fully-booked here now. Each candidates are staying in different hotels along with their supporters.
A huge rally is meanwhile scheduled here in Cagayan de Oro after the Comelec debate. Supporters of Duterte and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano will converge at the Kiosko, Divisoria starting at 5pm.
The site is where Emilio Aguinaldo also addressed the citizens of Cagayan de Misamis in 1924 and where momentous assemblies have been held throughout the city’s brave history.