Duterte on Mocha Uson as Senate bet: 'Let the people decide'
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged everyone to "let the people decide" following the supposed inclusion of Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, as well as Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in the ruling party PDP-Laban's Senate slate.
Asked about his reaction to the senatorial line-up pitched by House Speaker and PDP-Laban secretary general Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte replied, "Let the people decide. It's not a one-month story or critic. Let the people decide."
"Kung ginusto nila 'yan (If they wanted it), then that's it. It will be honored by all, including the military and the police," continued Duterte on Saturday, November 18, following an event with farmers and fisherfolk in Davao City.
When Filipinos choose someone for public office, "you might not like her, her ways might not suit your values, but if that guy or woman is elected by the people, then you have to honor that choice," Duterte said.
Alvarez on Friday named Uson and Roque as part of his roster of Senate bets for 2019, an announcement that caused an uproar on social media. (READ: Get to know Alvarez's 6 nominees to the PDP-Laban 2019 senatorial slate)
Both Uson and Roque were surprised at Alvarez's announcement. Uson said she has no plans to run for senator, while Roque said he would like to focus on his current job.
Senate President and PDP-Laban president Aquilino Pimentel III also clarified that the ruling party has yet to decide on Uson and Roque's inclusion in its Senate slate.
In October, PDP-Laban bared its initial 6 Senate bets for 2019: Pimentel, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.
Also on Saturday, Duterte described the qualities he is looking for in his "personal choice" for the Senate.
"Sino 'yung taong makakatulong sa Pilipino na bababa 'yung presyo ng pagkain at mayroon tayong supply na marami, sino 'yung Pilipinong makakatulong sa kapwa niya tao, and who has the best of ideas, baka iyon 'yung mga taong kukunin ko. Or I might also nominate them," said Duterte.
(Who is the one who could help Filipinos by lowering the price of foods and ensuring an abundant supply? Who is the Filipino who can help his fellow people? And who has the best ideas? Maybe those are the ones who I'll recruit. Or I might also nominate them.)
"It's a party decision so maybe there's a give and take there," he added.
Asked further by a reporter if he had anyone in mind, Duterte mentioned in jest the names of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and Undersecretary Berna Romulo Puyat, who were with him at Saturday's event. – Rappler.com