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Ex-DILG chief Alunan is 12th pick for Duterte’s Senate slate

Rafael Alunan III and Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte endorses former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan as guest candidate in his senatorial slate during a campaign rally in Biñan, Laguna, on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. (Photo from the Facebook page of RAFAEL ALUNAN III)

MANILA, Philippines — Former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III has been chosen to complete the senatorial slate of President Rodrigo Duterte for the midterm polls in May 2019.

READ: Ex-DILG chief Alunan to run for senator in 2019 polls

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In a text message to INQUIRER.net, Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP–Laban), confirmed on Sunday that Alunan completed the President’s senatorial slate.

“Yes. Yesterday in Biñan, [Laguna]. [A]lunan already joined us [in the] PDP LABAN MABAGOKOTO rally,” Pimentel said referring to the campaign sortie of the party’s senatorial candidates in Laguna on Saturday at the Alonte Sports Arena, which Alunan attended.

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The former chief of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is the seventh guest senatorial candidate of the PDP-Laban endorsed by the President.

He headed the DILG during the term of President Fidel Ramos and headed the Department of Tourism in the administration of President Corazon Aquino.

The President, in his speech at the Biñan rally, described Alunan as the “brightest” Cabinet member during the Ramos administration.

“Wala ka ng makita pinaka-bright sa panahon ni Ramos. He was the brightest doon sa Cabinet member,” the President said.

[You could not see anyone else brighter in the time of Ramos. He was the brightest among the Cabinet members.]

“And he knows best what he’s doing because he was once upon a time the DILG secretary,” he added.

“Thinking ito. Ito ang ’pag nakausap mo he’s a thinking guy,” he added.

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[He’s a thinking man. When you talk to him, you’ll realize his a thinking guy.]

Aside from Alunan, other guest candidates are folk singer Freddie Aguilar; re-electionist Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, and Cynthia Villar; Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano; and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

READ: Duterte endorses Senate bid of 5 PDP-Laban bets, 7 guest candidates

Earlier, Duterte endorsed the candidacy of former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada but later dropped him from the line-up.

READ: Duterte drops Jinggoy from admin Senate slate

Meanwhile, PDP-Laban’s five-man slate, dubbed as “MaBaGoKoTo,” is composed of former Bureau of Customs chief Ronald de la Rosa, former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and Pimentel. /atm

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