Candidates scrambling to get Duterte’s backing

By Rosalie O. Abatayo and Morexette Marie B. Erram |November 05,2018 - 10:33 PM


MOST aspirants in the 2019 midterm polls share a common prayer: to be included in President Duterte’s list of “competent and honest” candidates.

The President announced last week that he will choose meticulously the people whom he will include in the list of candidates that he will endorse for the May elections.

In a speech in Cagayan de Oro on Nov. 1, the President said he only has two requirements for the candidates that he will endorse: competence and honesty.

“That’s what I said. I will support you as long as you are not corrupt and if you have the capacity,” President Duterte said.

Vice Governor Agnes Magpale welcomed Duterte’s announcement even though she does not belong to the President’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Magpale refused to confirm if she is seeking the President’s endorsement in her bid for the Capitol’s top post against 3rd district Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia who is PDP-Laban’s standard bearer.

“I cannot comment on that. Maninguha lang ta nga magpadayon ang atong pagsilbi nga limpyo lang gihapon atong ngan i-uban nato sa 31 ka tuig nato nga panilbi nga wa gyod intawn tay mantsa ang atong ngan,” Magpale said.

Clean record

Magpale also said that she is supporting the President’s fight against graft and corruption.

Magpale added that she is sure that her track record in her three decades in politics has been “clean” and has no stain of corruption.

“That’s a very good news nga kadtong corrupt-free officials ang iyang isaka ang kamot … I support fully the advocacy of the president which is to stop graft and corruption in addition to the fight against drugs,” Magpale added.

Labella confident

In Cebu City, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who is running for mayor in 2019, also welcomed President Duterte’s criteria for endorsing his bets in 2019.

Labella said he is confident that his slate under the Barug-PDP-Laban is attuned with the President’s anti-corrupt advocacy.

“The President is just being consistent on his advocacy. That has always been the thrust of his administration to solve and purge the deeply rooted culture of bureaucracy where corruption comes from, as well as criminality,” said Labella.

The vice mayor will be challenging incumbent Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña for next year’s polls, under Barug which is currently the city’s opposition party.

His running mate will be former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama who is Osmeña’s political archrival.

Aside from being a member of Barug, Labella also happened to be the president of the Cebu City chapter for PDP-Laban.

“Not only that I welcomed it. I will join the President in doing so. And I am very confident that our group is in accord with the President and the national government’s campaign,” Labella added.

Dinner meeting

Mr. Duterte attended a private dinner meeting with PDP-Laban candidates, including Garcia and Labella, last October 30 where he reportedly said that he will come back to Cebu after Christmas to raise the hands of the candidates.

According to a CDN source who was at the dinner meeting, the President hinted that Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio also has her own picks for the 2019 polls.

Duterte-Carpio was in Cebu last October 22 for the sisterhood agreement between Davao City and Liloan town where Garcia’s daughter, Ma. Christina Frasco, is mayor.

She also attended the formalization of ties between Hugpong ng Pagbabago, her regional party in Davao Region, and Mandaue City Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing’s slate.

Duterte-Carpio earlier said that she does not want to intervene in Cebu politics.

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