BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Former presidential spokesperson and senatorial aspirant Salvador Panelo is optimistic that President Rodrigo Duterte will endorse the presidential bid of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., following the endorsement of his political party – Partido Demoktratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan (Cusi faction), of which he served as the president.
“I will not be surprised if PRRD will eventually do the same,” Panelo stressed during a press conference yesterday at the Stonehill Suites in Bacolod City.
The PDP-Laban (Cusi faction) earlier endorsed the vice-presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Among the presidential candidates, Panelo, who is running under the UniTeam of Marcos-Duterte tandem, said that only BBM did not criticize President Duterte.
“BBM calls for unity, which he has not heard from any presidential candidate,” Panelo said.
He added that BBM commits himself to support the continuing reforms being initiated by President Duterte.
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes III, a senatorial bet of the Angat Tropa under the tandem of presidential bet Leni Robredo and vice-presidential candidate Francis Pangilinan, who paid a courtesy call on Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, yesterday said “we don’t see it as an added boost to the BBM camp, simply because its only (Energy Secretary Alfonso) Cusi, who endorsed Marcos, and not Duterte himself.”
“These are two different things and I believe; some local officials also look at that way,” Trillanes added.
Asked about the statement of Panelo that Duterte will definitely endorse Marcos, he said “that’s an assumption of Panelo. Everybody knows that Secretary Panelo assumes too much. We just have to wait for the actual announcement, if any, that announcement come at all.”
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the PDP-Laban faction led by Cusi should form its own political group, after endorsing Marcos Jr.
Admitting that he was frustrated by the move of Cusi faction, Pimentel, in a radio interview, said he expects it to happen.
It’s frustrating because our party’s name is being used. So, we were frustrated and then they picked someone who is the opposite of our platform…given the history of why the party was formed, Pimentel yesterday said in a Teleradyo interview.
Pimentel also said earlier that the PDP-Laban was founded to fight against the Marcos dictatorship.
Panelo said the stand of Pimentel is “hypocritical”, stressing that PDP-Laban became relevant, because of the support of President Duterte, recalling that it was a one-man party before.*