MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has included former Interior Secretary Rafael “Raffy” Alunan III in his senatorial lineup for the upcoming May 2019 mid-term elections.
Alunan himself confirmed this during the campaign rally of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan City, Laguna.
“Malaking karangalan (It is a huge honor) to be part of the President’s team for May 2019,” Alunan, one of PDP-Laban’s guest candidates said during the event.
Duterte, in his speech, said Alunan is “the brightest” Cabinet member under President Fidel Ramos.
“Wala ka nang makita pinaka-bright sa panahon ni Ramos (You can’t see someone brighter during the time of Ramos). He was the brightest Cabinet member,” Duterte said.
”And he knows best what he’s doing because he was once upon a time the DILG Secretary. Secretary Alunan,” he added.
Alunan also served as Tourism Secretary under President Corazon Aquino.
Duterte further described as Alunan “a thinking guy.”
This is Alunan’s second attempt to run as Senator after losing in the 2016 Senate race.
He is now running under the Bagumbayan Party of Senator Richard Gordon.
Aside from Alunan, other guest candidates being endorsed by Duterte are folk singer Freddie Aguilar, Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and reelectionist senators Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and Cynthia Villar.
Duterte is endorsing five senate bets from PDP-Laban namely former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, PDP-Laban President and reelectionist senator Aquilino “Koko” PImentel III, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Philippine National Police and Bureau of Corrections chief Roland “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President does not think that he possesses any “magical” power to make candidates of his choice win the elections after analysts said the May elections would test the President’s power to endorse his candidates.
Panelo disagreed with remarks that the failure of administration allies to win seats would mean voter rejection of the Duterte administration. Azer Parrocha /PNA-northboundasia.com