DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is still discussing the application of independent candidates seeking to be part of the party’s senatorial slate.
PDP-Laban national president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said on Sunday, February 14, that independent candidates who have applied include retired general and former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director Dionisio Santiago, former Quezon City representative Dante Liban, former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan, and pastor Greco Belgica.
Jueteng whistle-blower Sandra Cam is also applying but “she does not have the inside track,” said Pimentel.
Cam supposedly got angry at the staff of Alan Peter Cayetano for allegedly preventing her from delivering a speech during PDP-Laban standard-bearer Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation rally on February 9.
But Pimentel said Cam had no right to feel bad about the incident.
"No one should feel bad, lalo na if kunyari, merong auto, nakisakay ka lang, so ikaw pa yong nanuyo, ikaw pa ‘yong nagfi-feel bad na nakikisakay ka lang, ikaw yong hitch-hiker. You don't have the right to feel bad kasi more than 12 ang nag-apply sa partido and we cannot afford to accommodate them all, so dapat di magalit ‘yong di ma-accommodate," Pimentel told Rappler.
(No one should feel bad because if for example you are just riding on, you are the one asking for favors, and then you will feel bad that you are just riding on, you are the hitch-hiker. You don’t have the right to feel bad because more than 12 applied with the party and we cannot afford to accommodate them all. So the one who can’t be accommodated should not get angry.)
Cam, however, said, that pending the PDP-Laban decision, she is moving and is actively campaigning for Mayor Duterte.
"I move around I am campaigning for Duterte," she told Rappler.
Cayetano has told media that there are no senatorial candidates officially endorsed by the tandem.
“As for the senatoriables, wait for his decision and the campaign team’s on who is officially in. But the entire tandem has not yet decided whether or not to endorse anyone,” he said on February 11.
The senatorial candidates applying for PDP-Laban membership are often seen with Duterte during sorties. After speaking, Duterte mentions them so they can be recognized by the crowd.
“There are individual friends of the mayor, individual endorsements and the mayor is very kind but we never announced that we have an official DC slate. There are meetings ongoing for the campaign team to communicate that to them,” said Cayetano.
He added that one factor to consider in endorsing an entire line-up of 12 senators is the cost of bringing them to sorties.
“Right now, the focus of the campaign team is to put Mayor Duterte in Malacañang…We have to make sacrifices for individual campaigns so for those who truly love Mayor Duterte, let’s sacrifice also a bit,” said the senator. – with reports from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com