By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
CASIGURAN, Aurora—President Duterte said the reason he chose not to cast his vote for the first Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) under his administration was because all those running were his friends.
Duterte, in an interview during his visit to the wake of the late Senator Edgardo Angara in Taguig City, said that it would be better not to vote in order not to cast any shadow of doubt on his friends who ran for a seat in the recently concluded polls.
“Purely political. Lahat ‘yang tumakbo kaibigan ko (All those who ran were my friends), [and] almost all were my supporters during the last election,” Duterte said Tuesday pre-dawn.
“They would never believe na nagboto ako o hindi sa kanila so tingin ko (if I voted for them or not so I think) the better option would really be to just skip the voting kasi ayaw kong magduda sila (because I don’t want them to doubt),” he added.
Duterte pointed out that these were the people who supported him during the previous elections where he won as President.
“To erase all suspicions in the mind of people who really helped me along the way, sabi ko hindi na ako pupunta (I said that I will not just vote),” he said.
However, the President said that even if he did not vote, he was monitoring the situation across the country.
“I was busy, nagmo-monitor ako ng (monitoring the situation)… all over the Philippines in front of so many communication gadgets,” he said.
Duterte was supposed to cast his vote in Daniel Aguinaldo High School in Davao City where the same chair he used during the 2016 presidential polls was waiting for him.
It was reported that the same old wooden chair during the polls two years ago was reserved for the President. The “seat of victory” was enclosed in a glass casing since Duterte became President.
It was also reported that school officials immediately set the chair aside on May 9, 2016 after Duterte used it and did not let other voters use it that day.
Last year, President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10952 which postponed the synchronized Barangay and SK polls on October 23, 2017, and rescheduled it to May 14, 2018. Since assuming the presidency, the local polls have been postponed twice.
Duterte earlier explained that he decided to postpone the polls, saying it might negate the effect of his ongoing war against illegal drugs. He claimed that drug money might fund the campaign of some candidates.
Early this month, President Duterte declared May 14 as a special non-working holiday to give way to the BSKE across the country.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, by authority of President Duterte, signed Proclamation No. 479 Wednesday, declaring the holiday in order for the people to be able to exercise their right to vote.