President Rodrigo Duterte has refused to endorse the candidacy of three Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP)-backed senatorial candidates.
Duterte told reporters in Bulacan after the proclamation and kick-off rally of his PDP-Laban political party Thursday, February 14, that he has no quarrel with his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio regarding who will be supported in the May senatorial polls.
Duterte-Carpio is the head of HNP, a regional political party in Davao, but has been supporting 13 senatorial candidates for the upcoming elections.
“I have no quarrel with Inday (Sara) actually. But I respect her decision, who among the aspirants she will choose to form her ticket,” he said.
“Ako naman, meron din akong sariling nagustuhan along this year. Ang problema namin ni Inday is she’s a politician and I am also. So we cannot agree on all — especially on all of the personalities there sa Hugpong,” he explained.
During the proclamation rally, Duterte endorsed the candidacy of PDP-Laban senatorial bets, namely Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, former corrections and police chief Ronald dela Rosa, former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go, and former political affairs adviser Francis Tolentino.
He also expressed support on the senatorial bid of guest candidates Senators Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara and JV Ejercito, Taguig City Rep. Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and singer Freddie Aguilar.
The three HNP-backed senatorial bets whom Duterte refused to endorse were former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, who is facing plunder case in the court, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who was acquitted from plunder charge, and former television reporter Jiggy Manicad.
Duterte said he did not endorse the three senatorial aspirants “because I have to be true to myself. Kung ano ‘yung sinabi ko dito, ‘yon na ‘yung suportahan ko.”
“They gave me the signal too late. Actually, about almost a year ago I was already forming the ticket. But I just played dumb. Hindi ko naman sinasabi. Ganun man talaga,” he said when asked why he did not endorse the senatorial bid of Estrada, Revilla, and Manicad.