By CNN Philippines Staff
President Rodrigo Duterte has narrowed down the number of Senatorial candidates that he will campaign for in the upcoming elections to eleven.
In a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Bulacan on Thursday, Duterte introduced his eleven Senatorial bets: Dong Mangudadatu, Bato dela Rosa, Bong Go, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Francis Tolentino, Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Freddie Aquilar and Imee Marcos. The latter six are not members of the political party.
The PDP-Laban has also launched a shorter tagline for Mangudadatu, dela Rosa, Go, Pimentel and Tolentino: MABAGOKOTO, which roughly translates to “I can change this” and is a combination of their names.
Duterte reiterated his praises for his Senatorial bets, calling them “honest” and possessing a love of country.
He also described women candidates Cayetano and and Villar as “parang nanay(motherly).”
When it came to Imee Marcos, daughter of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the President started talking about the Marcoses and the “yellows” — the color associated with the opposition against the Marcos regime as well as the previous administration — but he quickly veered to his years as a law student.
Marcos appears in her campaign commercial with Duterte’s daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
During his speech, Duterte said that his is against political dynasties but he can not dictate his daughter’s actions.
“Ako gusto ko ng anti-dynasty. Pero di ko kaya si Inday,” Duterte said, referring to his daughter by her nickname.
[Translation: I am for anti-dynasty. But I can’t control Inday.]
In an ambush interview after the event, Duterte clarified that he is only endorsing the eleven candidates who attended the campaign rally, and not necessarily all thirteen Senatorial bets supported by his daughter’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party.R
Among the HNP bets Duterte is not endorsing is Jinggoy Estrada — brother of JV Ejercito and son of former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Estrada is currently facing plunder and graft charges at the Sandiganbayan.
When asked about his mention of the younger Estrada’s name in one his endorsement speeches at an HNP event, Duterte said that was because Estrada was there. Duterte earlier warned government officials he will not tolerate “even just a whiff of corruption.”
“Nandoon siya e. Alangan naman na hindi ko siya– even for just one single day sasabihin mo kandidato ko trese lahat,” he said of Estrada, adding that he knew the former Senator had suffered and had been in prison.
[Translation: He was there. How could I not, even for just one single day, say that I am endorsing thirteen candidates?]