MANILA — Malacanang on Tuesday said it expects winning senatorial candidates in the upcoming 2019 mid-term elections to cooperate with President Rodrigo R. Duterte even if they are from the opposition.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the electorates also expect the senatorial aspirants who would win in the May 13 polls to support the Duterte administration’s programs since the President continued to enjoy high trust and approval ratings.
“The logic will be, if you’re voted into office given the overwhelming mandate of this President, then the mandate for you is to cooperate with this President dahil gusto namin ang kaniyang ginagawa (because we’re satisfied with what he’s doing),” Panelo said.
“So we’re voting for you to help him and not to destroy or to attack or to make a monkey wrench of his program,” he added.
Meanwhile, Panelo clarified that Duterte does not bring candidates in his events.
“The assumption that he brings candidates is incorrect. He doesn’t bring candidates. Those candidates happened to be there,” Panelo said.
“These candidates are very creative, they know the schedule of the President so that they go there and when the President sees them, if they see him or if he sees them… kasi (because) if he doesn’t see them, he doesn’t say anything eh. If you notice iyong mga speeches niya dire-diretso, tapos bigla iyang ‘oh’ kapag nakita niya (he talks direct to the point in his speeches then when he suddenly sees someone) then says something good. Ganoon siya eh (He’s like that), so it’s not intentional on his part,” he explained.
Panelo, also Chief Presidential legal counsel, said there is nothing wrong with the candidates’ strategy.
“You cannot stop them. They are citizens of this country. There is no prohibition to attending functions and events,” he said.
Duterte has already endorsed at least three administration candidates: former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, former Presidential Political Affairs Adviser Francis Tolentino, and former Bureau of Corrections and Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Latest Pulse Asia survey in December showed Duterte is the most trusted among the four highest officials of the country.
Duterte’s approval and trust ratings remain high at 81 percent and 76 percent, respectively. (PNA)