By Ben O. Tesiorna
Since the administration of then president Fidel Ramos, Davao City’s Rodrigo Duterte was offered the post of Interior and Local Government secretary. Since then, the same post has been offered to him by the administrations of Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and now President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
And everytime, incumbent Vice Mayor Duterte politely refuses such offer for some reasons.
Some people speculated that Duterte does not want to hold a national position because of the huge responsibility and the possibility of his family being dragged into limelight and criticism as part of the national position.
Others said that Duterte is trying to avoid of being subject to scrutiny especially with regards to his alleged involvement in the shadowy vigilante group Davao Death Squad.
But people close to Duterte and those whom he confided with his reasons said that Duterte simply does not want to leave the people of Davao City in gratitude for the more than two decades of trust and confidence given to him.
“He doesn’t want to leave Davao City his heart and life belongs to the people of Davao. Utang kabubut-on dili hikalimtan. Siya magpabiling inyong suluguon,” Paolo Duterte said.
“He prefers to remain in Davao nearer his constituents. That’s what he told me,” Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat seconded.
“Rody Duterte is qualified and very competent to handle DILG secretary post. However, I believe he treats with loyalty, respect and honor his compact with the people of Davao City who elected him as mayor for 20 years, congressman and now vice mayor. With this overwhelming mandate and consent of the governed, I believe his commitment to the people of Davao City is his primordial concern. Like a father whose love for his children is without parallel,” Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab said.
In his recent visit to Davao City, President Aquino met with Duterte to discuss some issues. Both officials however denied they talked about the offer of the DILG post. Mayor Sara Duterte however confirmed to the media later that the President indeed offered the post “again” to her father.
An insider said that Duterte was the first choice of President Aquino to head the DILG post even if Vice President Jejomar Binay declared his interest for the same post. This is also said to be the reason why it took long before DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo was appointed.
And with the bungled hostage incident in Manila, the Aquino administration is again convincing Duterte to accept the post.