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The rally in Luneta that clamors for Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City’s celebrated mayor, to run despite his withdrawal has proven successful in making him change his hard stance from before.

Earlier, he disuaded fans from joining the rally, and bluntly told he was not running.

Duterte has been consistent in saying that he will not run for President.

He told a press conference on Sept. 7 that he would retire from public life in 2016.

“I believe it’s no longer my time. I will retire after my term,” he said.

A million-signature campaign was also launched yesterday to show support for Duterte.

Due to the crowd and the clamor, the hardy mayor was moved.

In a text message read to the crowd at Rizal Park for him by former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Hermogenes Esperon, Duterte said:

“MARAMING SALAMAT SA LAHAT NG MGA TAO NA NAGBIBGAY NG SUPORTA. TINIIS DAW NINYO ANG INIT AT ULAN, AT AKO AY HUMIHINGI NG PAUMANHIN. ANDITO AKO SA ZAMBOANGA CITY DAHIL TUMULONG AKO SA PAGHANAP NG SOLUSYON SA KIDNAPPING NA NANGYARI SA SAMAL ISLAND NUNG LUNES. MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PO (Thank you for your support. I understand you braved the sun and the rain, waiting, and I offer my apology. I am stuck in Zamboanga City trying to help find a solution to the Samal Island kidnapping incident that happened earlier on Monday. Again, I thank you very much).

I HEAR YOUR CLAMOR LOUD AND CLEAR. I KNOW YOU WANT AN ALTERNATIVE TO THOSE WHO NOW PRESENT THEMSELVES WITH THEIR AMBITION TO LEAD THE COUNTRY. I HAVE REPEATEDLY SAID THAT I DO NOT HAVE AMBITIONS TO BE YOUR PRESIDENT. LEADERS ANSWER NOT THEIR SELF-INTEREST OR THEIR PERSONAL GLORY. LEADERS RESPOND TO DUTY AND MORAL OBLIGATION. SA LAHAT SA KABABAYAN NATIN, HUMIHINGI AKO NG KONTING PANAHON (To all my countrymen, I am asking for a little more time), SO I CAN DO SOME FINAL SOUL-SEARCHING WITH MYSELF AND MY FAMILY.

AT PAGKATAPOS, SA KONTING PANAHON NA LANG PO, HAHARAP AKO SA BANSA AT SA INYONG LAHAT. AT MAGDEDESISYON AKO NG BUONG KALOOBAN AT MULA SA PUSO. PANGAKO KO SA INYO – HINDING HINDI KO KAYO PABABAYAAN (And then, after only a short time more, I will face the nation, face all of you, and make my decision with my whole heart. I promise. I will not abandon you).”

This may be another glimmer of hope that Duterte may finally toss his hat into the ring.

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