MANILA -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte can campaign for or against particular senatorial bets in the mid-term elections this May, MalacaAang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo explained this after Duterte lashed out at the Otso Diretso slate during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan campaign rally in Zamboanga City on Sunday.
You must remember that the President has his own candidates. And under the law, he can endorse or campaign against. So there is nothing wrong, as far as I am concerned, he is doing his feel, Panelo said.
Ang feel niya hindi karapat-dapat itong mga kalaban ng kandidato niya, ano namang masama doon, eh lahat naman, eh kung iyong mga senador sa kabila, binabanatan diyan siya, ganoon talaga ang eleksyon (If he feels that the opponents of his candidates are undeserving, what's wrong about it, other senators in the opposition are also attacking him, that's part of the elections), he added.
Otso Diretso is composed of candidates of the political opposition namely Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano, reelectionist Sen. Paolo Benigno Bam Aquino IV, lawyer Jose Manuel Chel Diokno, and Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc.
Other members of the opposition slate are former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former Interior Secretary Manuel Mar Roxas II and former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Erin TaAada III.
Panelo also dismissed rumors that attacking the political opposition is part of the President's strategy to help his personal bets win.
Wala namang strategy si Presidente. Hindi n'yo ba napapansin (He doesn't have a strategy. Don't you notice), he is a very frank person, Panelo said.
The Spokesperson, meanwhile, clarified that Duterte's remark about Otso Diretso going straight to hell was just a joke.
Alam mo naman iyon, palagi naman nagpapatawa iyon pagdating diyan sa mga ganyan eh (You know him, he always tries to crack jokes when it comes to situations like that), Panelo said.
Duterte is endorsing five senate bets from PDP-Laban namely former Philippine National Police and Bureau of Corrections chief Roland Bato dela Rosa, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Bong Go, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, PDP-Laban President and reelectionist senator Aquilino Koko Pimentel III, and former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino.
He is also endorsing folk singer Freddie Aguilar, former Interior Sec. Rafael Raffy Alunan, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and reelectionist senators Juan Edgardo Sonny Angara, Joseph Victor JV Ejercito and Cynthia Villar.
Source: Philippines News Agency