MANILA Any senator running for the midterm elections in 2019 would have a competitive advantage if they are endorsed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Wednesday.
The President's endorsement would vastly help in the winning of the senatorial candidates, Panelo told reporters in an interview.
Duterte is chairman of the country's ruling political party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Panelo made this remark after both House Speaker and PDP-Laban Secretary-General Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President and PDP Laban President Aquilino Koko Pimentel III recently announced their own prospective senate slates.
Alvarez's list include Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid "Dong" Mangudadatu, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Bong Go.
In addition to Alvarez' list, Pimentel's personal list include re-electionist senators Juan Edgardo Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor JV Ejercito, Grace Poe and Cynthia Villar.
The Senate president, however, said it is still up to Duterte to make the final say on the slate.
Panelo acknowledged that Go has reiterated several times that it was still too early to decide on his plans for the 2019 midterm polls, but he personally felt that Go was ready and set to go.
He said Roque had expressed his desire" to be a member of the Senate despite repeatedly saying he did not have the money to campaign.
Well I think he also desires to be a member of the Senate. And that is a legitimate ambition. We'll support him. I will support him, Panelo said.
Panelo, meanwhile, said there was "nothing new" about the new alliance eyed by the opposition.
Liberal Party (LP) president Senator Francis Pangilinan earlier bared that the political opposition will create a coalition dubbed The Resistance to field its own slates in the local and senatorial midterm elections in 2019.
In a news report, Pangilinan, however, said the LP would only help build this coalition but would work with other groups.
There is nothing new there; they've been resisting this administration, Panelo told reporters in an interview.
They can always try. They can always fail. They will always try to repeat what they have failed. They are welcome. We welcome. It's a free society, he added.
Source: Philippine News Agency