MANILA – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, known for his hard-hitting stance against criminality, has turned down calls for him to run for president in the 2016 elections.
"Stop… hindi ako interesado. Okay na ako sa trabaho ko… Kung ayaw niyo na sa aking maging mayor, aalis ako," Duterte said, referring to his job as Davao City's chief executive.
"You will regret kung ako presidente. Ipapasara ko ang Customs… Malawak ang dagat na parkingan," he added.
Several fan pages on social networking site Facebook are calling on the mayor to run for president.
Duterte made the headlines once more after he threatened to kill rice smugglers who will set foot in his city. He made the threat as he faced smuggling suspect Davidson Bangayan during the Senate probe on rice smuggling on February 4.
Not everyone, however, is admiring Duterte's no-nonsense approach. The Commission on Human Rights said it plans to raise a complaint against Duterte before the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Ombudsman and the Senate for possible violation of Article 11 of the Constitution and the Code of Ethics of Government Officials.
CHR chairperson Etta Rosales said Duterte was sending the wrong signals by threatening to kill smugglers and encouraging vigilantism and a culture of impunity in the country.
The CHR said this is the third sensitive statement issued by Duterte since his shoot-to-kill order against criminals in Davao City in July last year.
Rosales said the rights body had already investigated Duterte over the so-called Davao Death Squad killings in the southern city. The CHR said it had recorded some 200 extrajudicial killings from 2005 to 2009 in Davao City, which were allegedly committed by the DDS.
The investigation revealed a "systematic practice of extrajudicial killings in Davao City" and the systematic failure of local officials to conduct any meaningful investigation into the deaths.
The rights body has recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate "the possible administrative and criminal liability of Mayor Duterte for his inaction in the face of evidence of numerous killings committed in Davao City and his toleration of the commission of those offenses." – reports from Francis Magbanua and Rodirey Salas, ABS-CBN News Davao