President Rodrigo Duterte will attend the campaign caravan of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) to support her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara, Malacañang said on Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this clarification amid speculations that the President might endorse other senatorial candidates apart from those who belong to his political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
“Iyong Hugpong – dahil iyong anak niya ang nagpundar niyan ‘di ba – parang in support of the daughter’s help, assisting all the other candidates,” said Panelo in a Palace briefing.
HNP is a popular regional political party in Davao headed by Sara.
Duterte has previously expressed support for three HNP candidates — former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, and former journalist Jiggy Manicad – but they were not among those the President has officially endorsed during PDP-Laban campaign rallies.
As PDP-Laban chairman, Duterte is endorsing five PDP-Laban senatorial candidates — former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, PDP-Laban president and reelectionist Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Philippine National Police and Bureau of Corrections chief, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
He is also endorsing guest candidates — reelectionist senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Cynthia Villar, former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III, folk singer Freddie Aguilar, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos.
Panelo said Duterte’s attendance in the HNP campaign rally this week would be a courtesy to the invitation of organizers.
“It means it is a courtesy to the organizers; his presence will be deemed as a courtesy to them, if he was invited to grace the occasion,” Panelo said.
Asked if Duterte will endorse Revilla, Estrada and Manicad, Panelo said it would depend on the ‘specific announcement’ the President would make in the HNP campaign rally on Thursday.
Panelo, however, said the President would still be pleased if those who considered themselves as allies of the President would win despite belonging to a different party. (PNA)