Palace warns against using Duterte’s name to solicit for Senate bets

MALACAÑANG warned on Wednesday, February 13, against individuals who have allegedly been using the name of President Rodrigo Duterte to solicit financial support for some senatorial candidates.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made it clear that such practice of soliciting money or any materials for the benefit of senatorial candidates being endorsed by Duterte was "against the very principle which this Administration protects and advocates."

"It has come to the attention of the Office of the President that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's name has been used or dropped to solicit or accept campaign funds, contributions or materials in favor of the senatorial candidates he has personally endorsed," he said in a statement issued late Wednesday night.

"For everyone's information and guidance, the President has not authorized anyone in either the private or public sector, including government agencies like the Bureau of Customs, to resort to such illegal undertakings," he added.

So far, Duterte has endorsed the senatorial bids of former special assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence Go, former presidential adviser on political affairs Francis Tolentino, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, and Maguindanao Representative Zajid Mangudadatu.

Go, Tolentino, Dela Rosa, and Mangudadatu are included in the senatorial line-up of Duterte's political party, Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

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.

The 11 senatorial candidates are expected to be officially endorsed by Duterte during the proclamation rally of PDP-Laban on Thursday, February 14.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, who is also part of the PDP-Laban's Senate slate, would also be officially endorsed by the President for the first time.

As Duterte has yet to officially declare his own Senate slate, Panelo cautioned the public against "money-making scheme."

Panelo said those involved in the scam "shall be dealt with in accordance with (the) law."

"The general public is therefore forewarned and violators given a stern warning to cease and desist from these unlawful activities," he said.

"Any person, regardless if one works in the government as an official or employee, who is or has been made the subject of solicitation using the name of the President, whether deliberate or inadvertent, should report immediately such fraud to the National Bureau of Investigation or to other law enforcement agencies," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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