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Unprecedented

In our country’s seven decades of democratic experiment, it is only now that we are
seeing an unprecedented phenomenon where the sitting president endorses a set of
senatorial candidates short by one of the required number to be elected while a member of
the First Family endorses a set in excess of one of the 12 seats up for grabs.

Regardless of one’s partisan preferences, this phenomenon only succeeds in painting
an administration that is lacking in political coherence inflicting unequalled ruin to its ability
to lead and govern.

But why did it happen that President Duterte is endorsing 11 as official senatorial
candidates of his party, the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, where 12 needs
to be elected while his daughter’s newly-minted regional party, Hugpong Pagbabago, is
endorsing 13 where only 12 will be elected?

It may be argued that Duterte is not required to endorse 12 candidates if he believes
only11 deserves the people’s vote. But this does not fly. His daughter’s endorsement of 13
candidates makes this argument fallacious.

What could be the viable argument paving this phenomenon from happening? It is in
the motive behind the selection of the candidates. Duterte’s criteria in choosing who to
endorse is solely based on what the candidate has done for him in the last election and
during his incumbency.

From his own mouth he claims reelectionist Cynthia Villar and her husband played
crucial roles on convincing him to run for the presidency in 2016 hence her inclusion in his
slate. Imee Marcos, on the other hand, belongs to the family who greatly helped him secure
victory in that race. This is aside from the fact that Duterte’s father was a loyal ally of the
senatorial candidate’s dictator father.

Ronald dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino and Christopher Go are in the anointed ticket of
Duterte for the devotion they had showed him while in the service of his administration.

Duterte himself said Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr. were too late in asking for
his endorsement hence their non-inclusion in his favored candidates, meaning, if they were
on time in seeking his endorsement he would have readily given it to them. Rumors
circulating in the grapevine, however, say that the duo were dropped like hot potatoes when
Duterte’s sincerity in his so called war on corruption was questioned with the inclusion of
the two.

Estrada is currently facing plunder charges before the Sandiganbayan in connection
with the P10 billion pork barrel fund scam engineered by Janet Lim Napoles. Estrada is just
out on bail. Revilla, on the other hand, had been acquitted by the Sandiganbayan of the
same charges but being asked by the Ombudsman to return the P124 million that he was
accused of plundering but absolved by the court.

Estrada’s half-brother, reelectionist JV Ejercito, is lucky enough to be among the 11
that Duterte is endorsing.

The remaining five of the Duterte-anointed candidates like the others were chosen
based on his gratitude for the help they were able to extend to him one way or the other
during his presidential bid and during his incumbency hence the phenomenon where only 11
secured his endorsement where 12 is needed to be elected.
Now if this is what patriotism is all about on the part of Duterte, I don’t know what is.

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