Duterte to endorse 12 personal Senate bets

NUEVA ECIJA -- President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to endorse his 12 preferred candidates for the 2019 senatorial race during the proclamation and kick-off rally of his political party, the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on Thursday, February 14.

This was confirmed by erstwhile Special Assistant to the President and senatorial hopeful Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on the sidelines of an event held here in Laur town in Nueva Ecija province on Wednesday, February 13.

Go, however, noted that there are some issues the PDP-Laban has to address. He did not elaborate on these issues.

He nevertheless was confident that the PDP-Laban would adopt as guest candidates the senatorial bets picked by Duterte.

"Definitely, 'yung limang PDP candidates, pupunta. 'Yung 11 na 'yun (na preferred candidates niya), sinabihan na po niya (Definitely, the five senatorial candidates of the PDP-Laban will attend the proclamation rally. And Duterte already informwd his 11 preferred candidates)," Go told reporters in a chance interview.

"That has to be resolved first kasi medyo may ano pa. Kasi 'yung iba rin sumasali. I'm sure papayag naman 'pag si Presidente nag-sabi (That has to be resolved first because there are still issues. Other candidates also want to be endorsed. I'm sure it will be settled because it's the President's choice)," he added.

A day after the campaign period kicked off, Duterte brought along with him his former special aide during the inauguration of Moscati Meadows Residential Treatment Facility in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

This was not the first time Duterte was seen with Go even after the latter resigned from his post as the President's special aide in October last year to seek a Senate seat in the 2019 midterm elections. Go has been joining Duterte in the latter's public engagements.

Five senatorial hopefuls, including Go, would be officially endorsed during the PDP-Laban's proclamation rally.

Four other senatorial bets of the ruling PDP-Laban include former presidential adviser on political affairs Francis Tolentino, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, and Maguindanao Representative Zajid Mangudadatu.

Of the five PDP-Laban's Senate slate, only Pimentel has yet to be formally endorsed by Duterte.

In his previous speeches, Duterte also endorsed incumbent senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Cynthia Villar, and Joseph Victor Ejercito; former senator Jinggoy Estrada; former senator and Taguig Representative Pia Cayetano; Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" Marcos; and singer Freddie Aguilar.

Candidates for senator and party-list groups can already start campaigning until May 11. Meantime, those seeking positions in the House of Representatives and local offices may campaign on May 30 to May 11. (SunStar Philippines)


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