Palace: No harm in Duterte endorsing candidates not in PDP-Laban
MANILA, Philippines—There’s nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to come up and campaign for his “preferred candidates” instead of sticking to his party’s senatorial line-up in the upcoming May elections, Malacañang said Monday.
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained that the President has made personal preferences on the senatoriables even though the ruling PDP-Laban party, which he chaired, and regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) have their separate tickets.
“I don’t think there’s any danger or harm with respect to the other candidates that the President will endorse,” Panelo said.
“It only means that he has a deep bench of senatorial hopefuls. So regardless of who among them wins, okay pa rin sa kanya ‘yun,” he added.
Duterte earlier announced names of senatoriables he would support for the midterm elections. These names include poll aspirants outside his party.
Presidential daughter and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s HNP, meanwhile, has a 13-man senatorial slate, all of whom are either allies or supportive of his father’s presidency.
Included in Duterte’s slate were reelectionist Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito and Cynthia Villar, former Senators Pia Cayetano and Jinggoy Estrada, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.
The President had earlier endorsed the candidacy of former Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, former Presidential aide Bong Go, former police chief Ronald dela Rosa and singer Freddie Aguilar.
Go, Dela Rosa, and Tolentino are all running under Duterte’s PDP-Laban party while Aguilar is running as an independent candidate.
Completing PDP-Laban’s five-man slate is Duterte’s godson and reelectionist senator Koko Pimentel and Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu.
Panelo added that Duterte will be “visible” in the campaign period, which will start on Tuesday, considering that he has preferred candidates.
“The President under the law can campaign for or against candidates by reason of the provision under the law that political or officials by reason of their political offices can campaign,” the Palace official said.
“The rest, all employees of the government, AFP, police, cannot campaign for or against any candidates, nor can they use any resource of the government,” he added. /je
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