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Lito O backs federalism, Duterte as president

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol May 13,2015 - 01:04 AM

Former Cebu Gov. Lito Osmeña meets  Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.  (CDN PHOTO/ ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL)

Former Cebu Gov. Lito Osmeña meets Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City.

FORMER Cebu governor Emilio “Lito” Osmeña joined calls for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to seek the presidency.

Osmeña  met with Duterte at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino Saturday night to persuade the  mayor to run for the top elective post in 2016.

“This is it. It’s about time to have a Cebuano or Visayan-speaking president who will free southern Philippines from imperial Manila,” Osmeña told Cebu Daily News before the meeting began past 9 p.m.

Osmeña said he fully supports Duterte’s desire to adopt a federal form of government which seeks to decentralize and speed up the development of the countryside.

He said this jives with his campaign for local autonomy to address  the causes of poverty and insurgency, particularly the Moro rebellion.

Not a candidate

Osmeña said a centralized form of government leads to neglect of areas far from the seat of power.

“A federal system is the way to equality. At present, Manila looks down on Filipinos from southern Philippines. If we do not support Duterte, and we will lose the presidency this time, it will be our fault,” Osmeña said.

The former Cebu governor said he will do everything so Duterte will become the country’s next president. But Osmeña failed to convince Duterte.

After their private meeting that lasted for half an hour, Duterte said he’s not keen on seeking the presidency.

“I thank former governor Osmeña for the support. It was a very good gesture for someone who ruled for quite a time. It’s nice to hear what he said. But I’m not a candidate,” Duterte said in an interview.

Going federal

“There was never any forum when I expressed my desire to become president. All I wanted is to convince people to support a federal form of government,” he added.

Asked if he categorically declined Osmeña’s request, Duterte said “no.”

Also, he said running for president entails spending much money.

“Wala gyud koy kuwarta. Dili pud ko ganahan mangayo (I do not have money. And I don’t want to beg). That’s not my style,” he said.

“I will support any candidate for the presidency who will likely embrace federalism with passion. The time to go federal has come,” he said.

Osmeña said Duterte is the best among those who want to become president.

“Number one, he (Duterte) speaks my language. Second, he will free Filipino people from second class citizenship which we have here in Visayas and Mindanao and even in Bicol,” he said.

Osmeña was tight-lipped about his plans next year but said his decisions will depend on whether or not Duterte will run for president.

“I want to keep my options open. I will do everything in my power to elect Duterte president of this republic. So I will keep all my options open for that purpose,” said Osmeña who recently transferred his voter’s regsitration from Cebu City to Balamban town.

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TAGS: Cebu, Comelec, federalism, Lito Osmena, presidential election, Rodrigo Duterte

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