If the proposed federal form of government is passed into law two years from now, President Rodrigo Duterte said early Saturday he will step down and let others take over.
“Federalism is the only solution. If by 2018, it’s done, I give you my word, I will step down as President,” he said in a televised press conference in Davao City after he arrived from Singapore.
“Wala ako ambisyon na magpatagal (I have no ambition to stay long). Power, I don’t crave for it,” he said. He enumerated the years he served as mayor, vice mayor and congressman of Davao City that totaled to 40 years.
He said he is finished with politics and all the adulation. “Running [for office]? It’s not fun,” he said.
All he wanted, he emphasized, is to make “my countrymen happy and comfortable. That is all my dream.”
It’s not the first time Mr. Dutere vowed to step down once the framework of federal government is established. In a speech before Congress in October this year, he made an appeal to lawmakers to accelerate federalism and find “a configuration of government where the regions are more powerful.”
Getting sentimental, Mr. Duterte said when he dies, he wants the phrase “the man who tried his best” written on his epitaph.
“That’s the greatest honor, I tried to save my nation the best I could,” he said.
Asked for reaction on him landing in Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of most powerful leaders in the world, the president said he doesn’t accept the title. On the said list that has 74 names, Mr. Duterte is number 70 with Russian President Vladimir Putin as number one and newly elected US President Donald Trump on the second spot.
“I find it very corny. If it is attributed to the deaths of 5,000 people, I don’t accept the title. You think I enjoy killing Filipinos?” he said.