Hugpong ng Pagbabago party chairman and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte endorsed the candidacy of Ilocos Norte gubernatorial bet Matthew Manotoc during the party’s campaign sortie in the province hosted by incumbent Gov. Imee Marcos Monday.
Manotoc, an incumbent provincial board member, is running under the Nacionalista Party and is going up against Ilocos Norte 1st. Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte’s party.
The HNP held the campaign rally in Laoag City on Monday where Duterte, the President’s daughter, endorsed Manotoc alongside the 13 senatorial candidates led by his mother, Marcos.
Local leaders in the province chose Manotoc to replace his grandmother, former first lady, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, who withdrew from the gubernatorial race.
During the rally, Imee introduced Sara Duterte as a “daughter” of Ilocos Norte because she married a man born and raised in the province, referring to lawyer Manases Carpio. The incumbent governor made her speech in Ilocano.
Marcos asked the audience to support the HNP slate and she also talked about her accomplishments as the leader of Ilocos Norte.
She promised to pass laws suspending or lowering the value-added tax (VAT) and create programs to help poor families.
In her 15-minute speech, Duterte asked the crowd to vote for the senatorial candidates being endorsed by HNP, a regional party she formed last year to support her father’s administration.
Senatorial candidates Ronald dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Jiggy Manicad, Christopher Go and Dong Mangudadatu were present at the rally and took turns speaking to the crowd.
Revilla and Estrada talked about the government’s “wrong” decision to detain them following the plunder charges filed against them in connection with the pork barrel scam, saying they were innocent.
Revilla has been acquitted, but Estrada still faces charges.
Go, the former special assistant to the President put on a comic sketch with actor Philip Salvador, then promised to extend the term of service of barangay officials, improve the health services for the poor and continue to support the present administration.
Meanwhile, senatorial frontrunner Senator Grace Poe returned to the vote-rich province of Pangasinan, the bailiwick and hometown of her late father, the movie actor Fernando Poe Jr.
Poe, who is seeking her second term as an independent candidate, launched the provincial leg of her campaign sorties on Tuesday.
Poe said she feels “very at home” every time she goes back to the province that has adopted her.
Poe’s first stop was in Pangasinan State University-San Carlos campus, where she was greeted by City Mayor Joseres Resuello, vice gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronald Lambino, board member Darwina Sampang, Councilor Sammy Millora, and other local officials.
Pangasinan delivered the votes for Poe in her 2013 senatorial bid and in the 2016 presidential elections where she got the highest number of votes in the province. Pangasinan, which forms part of the so-called “solid north,” is the country’s third-biggest voting population with about 1.8 million voters.
Poe also acknowledged their support in her previous campaigns and when her father ran for president in 2004.
At the Virgen Milagrosa University Foundation, some 3,000 students gave a rousing welcome as Poe attended a student forum.
Poe’s campaign then proceeded to the nearby town of Bayambang where she met with local officials led by Mayor Cezar Quiambao and Rosendo So, chairman of the multi-industry alliance Samahan ng Industriya at Agrikultura and the Abono party-list.
Former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also facing plunder charges, vowed if elected to find ways to create more jobs and remove all restrictions to foreign investments.
“[We must] remove all barriers to foreign investments in the country except those areas where it involves our national security,” Enrile said.
He said local businesses no longer need protection.
“They can compete with other capitalists from other countries. What we need to day is to create jobs for the jobless people to expand the economy,” he said.
Also on Tuesday, political analyst Ramon Casiple said the midterm election was a referendum on the leadership of President Duterte.
At a forum, Casiple said the election also offers the President the opportunity to consolidate political power to fulfill his various 2016 campaign promises in the remaining three years of his administration.
In the same forum, Casiple observed that two members of the opposition Otso Diretso coalition, former senator Manuel Roxas II and Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, seemed to be conducting their own election campaigns apart from their team.
Casiple noted that even in his past election bid, Roxas had used his own blue color instead of the Liberal Party’s yellow color, while Aquino nowadays often wears black instead of yellow.
Casiple noted that during the inaugural proclamation rally of Otso Diretso’s eight official candidates, Roxas was conspicuously absent and held his own rally in his home province of Capiz.
READ: 'Hugpong' endorses Espinos in Pangasinan
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