MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte told national and local candidates in the 2019 midterm elections to avoid resorting to violence when campaigning to Filipino voters.
In a speech in Tagaytay City on Thursday night, the President said politicians should allow the people to vote freely for the candidates they desire without threatening them.
“Itong mga pulitiko, I’m just appealing to you to let the people vote freely. Wala lang tayong terrorism,” Duterte said. “Kung kandidato ka, tagilid ka, ‘wag mong i-terorismo. Tawagin mo ako, kampanyahan kita. Wala akong partido.”
Duterte made the statement weeks after the ambush of AKO Bicol Party-list representative Rodel Batocabe allegedly masterminded by his Daraga, Albay mayoralty race rival incumbent Carlwyn Baldo.
Baldo allegedly contacted a gun-for-hire group composed of former members of New People’s Army to plot the assassination of Batocabe for five million pesos. The incumbent mayor has denied his involvement in the murder.
In the same speech, Duterte also campaigned for former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and former Presidential Political Affairs Adviser Francis Tolentino.
Go, Dela Rosa and Tolentino were all lagging behind in the latest senatorial survey released by Social Weather Station. Incumbent senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe were the frontrunners in the survey.
“Nagkamali lang ‘yung tao pero I do not have to, you know, derogate others. Iyong nangunguna sa survey. Susmaryosep. We have dedicated people here, knowledgeable, attorneys than them,” Duterte said./PN