Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has declared that he would be the first left-leaning president of the country if he wins the elections on May 9.
"But I'm not a member of Communist Party or NPA (New People's Army). I cannot join them.... I am for democracy," said Duterte, who added that he was a member of Bayan.
Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas has criticized Duterte for helping the NPA rebels, who he said were killing the country's soldiers and policemen, and were extorting money from businessmen.
In a campaign sortie in Cebu, Duterte said he also has ties to the Moro people but would not support the Moro Islamic Liberation Front if it would continue its secessionist goals.
He said his mother was a Maranao and his son Paolo has a Maranao wife. He said Paolo's father-in-law was a Tausug.
Duterte said that if he becomes president, he will have to swear to protect the republic.
"So if you shoot me, I will shoot you," Duterte recalled telling an MILF leader.
Still, Duterte expressed openness in pursuing peace with the MILF.
The MILF signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in 2014 but Congress failed to pass the charter of the new Bangsamoro autonomous region. —NB, GMA News