Panelo: Duterte endorsing Imee Marcos out of ‘gratitude’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is just reciprocating the support he received from Ilocos Norte Governor and now senatorial aspirant Imee Marcos during the 2016 presidential elections.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said this on Monday in defense of the President’s endorsement of Marcos’ Senate bid.
Panelo explained said that endorsing Marcos does not contradict Duterte’s stance against corruption as the Ilocos Norte Governor has not been charged with any corruption-related crimes in court.
“According to the President, he is helping Imee because he is indebted to her. Because she’s one of two governors, who helped him in the (2016) campaign. Utang na loob yata ‘yung kanyang reason,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“In the first place, Imee is not charged (with corruption)…Wala naman siyang charge ng crime eh (He has not been charged with any crime),” he added.
Duterte recently revealed names of senatorial candidates he would support for the May midterm elections, which include Marcos, whose family was accused of amassing billions of ill-gotten wealth during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The President had repeatedly condemned and fired government officials over allegations of corruption even before any charges were filed against them.
Panelo, however, insisted that the President is not firing corruption-tainted government officials without prior “investigation.”
The Palace official also defended Duterte’s endorsement of plunder defendant and former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was among the lawmakers charged with graft and plunder charges in 2014 for alleged involvement in the multibillion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam. /ee
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