PDP-Laban to launch senatorial slate that includes Duterte's 'personal' bets

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FILE PHOTO | President Rodrigo Duterte is with his former special assistant and senatorial aspirant Christopher "Bong" Go at the Barangay Summit on Peace and Order in Pasay City on January 8, 2019.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — Ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) said it will launch its senatorial slate on Thursday.

One of PDP-Laban's bets, President Rodrigo Duterte's former special aide Bong Go, said the lineup will include guest candidates or those who do not belong to the party.

Go, who accompanied Duterte at an event in Nueva Ecija, said the President invited his "personal" bets to the launch. Among them are singer Freddie Aguilar, former Senator Pia Cayetano, reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos--whom PDP-Laban President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III is against having on the slate.

"I'm sure payag naman siya, 'pag si Presidente na nagsabi." Go said when asked if PDP-Laban has agreed to take in the Duterte's own bets in its slate.

[Translation: I'm sure he (Pimentel) will allow it, as long as the order is from the President.]

"Bukas definitely 'yung limang PDP-Laban candidates, pupunta. And then he invited Freddie Aguilar to join the launching po ng PDP. Including din po 'yung ano.. kasama rin po 'yung ibang mga ibang guest candidates po ni Pangulong Duterte," Go added.

[Translation: PDP-Laban's five candidates will surely come tomorrow, then the President also invited Freddie Aguilar. Also included are other guest candidates invited by President Duterte.]

Duterte has so far endorsed Go, Aguilar, Pimentel, Villar, Cayetano, Marcos, Senators Sonny Angara and JV Ejercito, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, former Philippine National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Maguindanao 2nd District Representative Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Presidential Legal Adviser Francis Tolentino.

The President earlier defended his support for certain candidates, saying he has the option to campaign for them.

"Ako, as a political entity by myself kasi pinili ako ng tao, I can choose whether to campaign. May mga tao lang ako na dapat pasalamatan, one, two or three. 'Yung pagsabi ko tatakbo ako na magsabi 'Magtulong kami sa iyo,' apat lang," he said in his speech during the distribution of land ownership certificates to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Maguindanao on Monday.

[Translation: I, as a political entity by myself because I was chosen by the people, I can choose whether to campaign. There are people I must thank, one, two or three. When I said I would run, there were four people who said "we'll help you."]

The national elections will be held on May 13.

CNN Philippines' Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.