Just another joke, Palace says of Duterte’s warning to Bicol politicians
MANILA, Philippines – Once again, President Rodrigo Duterte should not be taken seriously when he told Bicol-based politicians they would lose financial aid if they won’t support three of his senatorial candidates.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Mr. Duterte was only joking when he said that “nonsense.”
“[He is] joking. It is too obvious, the President is joking. Nagloloko na naman siya (He was just joking again). Kalokohan lang iyon (It was just nonsense),” he explained.
“Pakuwela lang iyon, patawa lang iyon (It was just clowning),” Panelo added.
During a situation briefing in Camarines Sur on Friday, Duterte told local officials in the province they should support his former Cabinet members Francis Tolentino, Christopher “Bong” Go, and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa or they would not get financial support from his administration.
Tolentino, Go, and Dela Rosa are running for senator in the midterm elections this May.
“‘Pag matalo ‘yan sila, may three years pa ako. Oo. Kailangan ninyo ang pirma ko sa release. Nasa inyo ‘yan kasi pwede naman tayo magkaibigan, pwede naman tayong walang imikan. I’ve been used to it,” Duterte told local officials during the briefing.
But even without the President’s joke, Panelo expressed confidence the three Senate hopefuls would get the vote of the Bicol region.
“Alam mo iyong Bicol will definitely support iyong tatlong kandidato na iyon,” he said.
“Unang-una, Bikolano iyong isa doon, si Francis Tolentino. Si Bong Go naman mukhang mahal ng mga Bikolano kasi marami nang nagawang tulong.”
“Si Bato rin bilib sila dahil sa kaniyang pagiging PNP Chief. In fact, I talked with a lot of mayors there, without me asking them, sabi nila susuportahan namin iyang tatlong iyan,” he added. /kga
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