Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / RICHARD A. REYES
MANILA, Philippines – An opposition senatorial candidate winning in the May 2019 midterm elections “doesn’t mean a repudiation” of the Duterte administration, Malacañang said Tuesday.
“It only means that when opposition candidates win, it is an expression of the electorate telling them that we’re putting you there to cooperate with this administration because we believe in this presidency and not you to destabilize it,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“I think that should be the message,” Panelo added.
In the latest Pulse Asia and SWS surveys, only Manuel “Mar” Roxas II and Benigno “Bam” Aquino made it to the top 12.
“Now, as far as I am concerned and I think the President will agree with me that the—even the winning of an opposition candidate doesn’t mean a repudiation of the administration,” Panelo said.
The Palace official dismissed the idea that the 2019 midterm elections would be a referendum for President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I don’t think the President believes in his magical so called power to endorse,” he said.
“What he’s giving the people is ‘these are the people that I personally feel are capable of being in the Senate’,” he added.
Duterte, chairman of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), is endorsing senatorial candidates outside his party.
Panelo had earlier said the President might just come up with a presidential slate rather than an administration slate.
He said Duterte “has a deep bench” of senatorial candidates. /kga
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