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Duterte says Andanar can go on campaign trail because he’s an ‘ideologue’: Martin’s dad is 1 of PDP-Laban founder

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Friday Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar is an exception to his order banning government officials from campaigning for or against 2019 bets, as he called the latter an “ideologue”.

In an interview with reporters after the ceremonial confirmation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite canvass results and oath-taking ceremony for the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in Malacañang, Duterte said they need Andanar’s guidance in standing for the values of his party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

“You know, ang tatay niyan si (Andanar’s father is) Wency. Wency is the original sa (in) PDP. That is why he was an exception. But the law says they can campaign. But Andanar, he’s an ideologue. His guidance is very important to all of the PDP members. He’s a son of one of the founding fathers of PDP-Laban,” Duterte said.

The President said he did not allow other government officials to campaign for or against 2019 bets because he wants to avoid the issue of using government resources for campaigning.

“I did not allow the other members because they might be campaigning if they want to and they will be using government cars, government fuel. And I wanted to remove that kind of issue just to be fair,” he said.

Press Freedom Caravan in Europe

Duterte said he has no qualms about the recent trip of PCOO officials in European countries to discuss media-related issues, so long as there is no corruption involved and “the funds are properly accounted (for)”.

He added that he left it up to Andanar to make decisions for the PCOO.

“He (Andanar) is a chief of office. I do not tinker with the decisions of how to do it, do it better, and do it better than the rest,” the President said.

He cited the importance of the PCOO’s mandate in his presidency.

“We have to have a propaganda division you know. It’s a political entity itong (the) presidency and of course all others. But more importantly, ako (me), because I execute the laws. So it’s the decision of that, the head of office. Then all he has to do is to tell me that it is good and I will listen and if I agree, go ahead. The only thing is spend the money of the government correctly and properly,” the President said.

Andanar, earlier, said that no public fund has been wasted in the official meetings with officials of the EU Parliament, Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID), European Commission, and leaders of the Filipino community and the conduct of the Press Freedom Caravan that took place from Feb. 17 to 18 in Brussels and on Feb. 20 in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said the Philippine delegation’s meeting with these officials discussed ways to address communist insurgency.

Andanar said the PCOO, in the same mission, found it ”an opportune time” to include a Press Freedom Caravan to maximize the official trip. (PNA)

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