Andanar gets exemption to campaign for Bong Go

By Argyll Geducos

President Duterte said he allowed Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to fill in for his former presidential aide in a campaign sortie in San Juan City Thursday because the former journo was a legacy of the PDP-Laban.

PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar during the senate hearing on fake news on Tuesday. (Jansen Romero|Manila Bulletin) PCOO Sec. Martin Andanar (Jansen Romero|Manila Bulletin)

Duterte made the statement in an ambush interview following the oath-taking of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in Malacañang Friday.

Despite his prohibition to government officials to campaign for a candidate, Duterte said he allowed Andanar to campaign for former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go because Andanar is important to PDP-Laban, being a legacy of the party.

The secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office is the son of Wencelito Andanar.

"I did not allow the other members because they will be campaigning if they want to, and they will be using government cars, government fuel, and I wanted to remove that kind of issue just to be fair," Duterte recalled.

"But Andanar, he's an ideologue. His guidance is very important to all of the PDP members. He is the son of one of the founding fathers of PDP-Laban," Duterte explained.

"He (Andanar) is an exception," he said.

According to Duterte, he would have tapped Senator Koko Pimentel to do the deed but said the Senate reelectionist already has a lot on his plate. Pimentel is also a PDP-Laban legacy. His father is former Senator Nene Pimentel.

"There are only a few of them left, originals, Pimentel is quite old, I mean the father. The son is very busy. He's tied up with his Senate work," Duterte said.

"And so I had to look for somebody there to fill the gap. Wala akong ibang maisip kung hindi si Andanar (I cannot think of anybody except for Andanar)," he added.

"I was not around, I was not an original member. So that is why I allowed him to go public," he continued.

The President then said that Andanar can effectively convey to the public what PDP-Laban is fighting for. He said the latter can also "guide everybody the values that the PDP stands for."

Earlier, Andanar said he hesitated filling in for Go in the campaign sortie but eventually stepped up because he was informed that Duterte already gave the green light for his presence there.

"Sinabi naman sa akin ni Secretary Bong Go (He told me) that the President is aware of my presence in San Juan," Andanar said in an interview over DZMM.

Days before the start of the campaign for the 2019 midterm elections, Duterte said he had prohibited the members of his Cabinet from campaigning for or against any candidate to avoid criticisms that government funds are being used in campaigning.

In February 14, Duterte officially kicked-off the senatorial campaign of PDP-Laban in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. The slate is composed of five party members and six guest candidates.