By Ben Rosario
CATARMAN, Samar – Politicians included in the so-called “narco-list” have been barred from speaking on the stage with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) senatorial candidates.
HNP chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte told reporters that while the 13-man senatorial slate of the regional party has not shown any signs that they are avoiding candidates included in the list, they have also left to the voters the decision whether or not they will vote for them.
Mayor Duterte was asked by the media to express her view on the release by her father, President Duterte, of the list of politicians seeking elective post but are suspected of involvement in drug trafficking.
“Wala kaming pag-iwas sa mga kandidato na nasa narco-list. Iniiwan namin sa lahat ng mga botante iyong kung paano sila magdecide on how they want to vote, provided na qualified sila sa mga batas natin na maging kandidato (We do not try to avoid candidates in the narco-list. We leave it to the voters to decide on how they want to vote, provided that they meet the legal qualifications to run),” explained the lady mayor.
But the HNP chief stressed that no politician whose name appears in the list will be allowed to address the crowd in any Hugpong campaign sortie.
Mayor Duterte led the Hugpong senatorial bets in their campaign caravan, choosing this town to be the first stop at the launch of the two-week campaign foray in the Visayas.
Several local candidates in the Visayas have been included in the list of 46 politicians allegedly financed by drug money.
Mayor Duterte said the HNP officers have agreed to check the local hosts and local partners of their campaign sorties to determine if their names are in the so-called narco-list.
“Wala naman kaming nakita doon but we found local candidates who are allied with local partners na nasa narco-list (We saw nobody in the list but we found local candidates who are allied with local partners in the narco-list),” she disclosed.
In such cases, Duterte said the local hosts and partners will be asked to bar the alleged narco-politicians from joining the campaign.
Among the senatorial candidates who joined Mayor Duterte here were broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad, former PNP chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, re-electionist Sen. Cynthia Villar, former special assistant to the president Christopher “Bong” Go, and former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino and former Sen. Jinggoy Estrada were represented by Cavite Rep. Bambol Tolentino and San Juan Vice Mayor Janella Estrada, respectively.
With at least 5,000 Northern Samar barangay and local leaders present, the HNP rally here was sponsored by the Abayon political clan headed by former Rep. Harlin Abayon and his son, AANGAT Tayo Party-list Rep. Niel Abayon. #MatalinongBoto2019