FVR endorsing Duterte?
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - March 8, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Did former president Fidel Ramos endorse Rodrigo Duterte?

 If Duterte spokesman Peter Laviña is asked, the answer is seen in a photo of Ramos raising the hands of Duterte and his running mate Sen. Alan Cayetano.

“(There are) photos, but no (official) statement,” Laviña told The STAR in a text message, adding that a photo “speaks a thousand words.”

 Duterte’s closest aide Christopher Bong Go posted on his Facebook wall at 8:46 a.m. yesterday the photos of Ramos raising the hands of Duterte and Cayetano.

Although Go did not mention where the photo was taken, it was apparently in an office of Ramos. Aside from the raising of hands, Duterte was seen wearing Ramos’ cap.

Cayetano was mum on the alleged endorsement but explained that after a meeting, when they were asked for a photo opportunity, they just raised their hands.

“I have high respects for president Ramos. When someone asked for a picture, it just happened… as far as endorsement is concerned, I would rather let him (FVR) tell the people who he is endorsing,” Cayetano said.

Duterte’s supporters appeared divided: some were not happy and some expressed gladness.

 A Facebook user, Marbabz Reggie warned Duterte, saying that Ramos is a traitor and will just ride on the popularity of the Davao City mayor.

 Jupiter Bangcal, however, said that Ramos made the right move in endorsing Duterte.  

 Duterte courted the support of the Ynares clan in Rizal province on Monday.

 In a speech, Duterte said he would allow the police and military to kill criminals if elected president. He qualified though that he would not be tolerant of abusive officers.

Meanwhile, lawyer Randolph Parcasio said Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari has not asked for anything in exchange for endorsing Duterte for president.

“There was no quid pro quo agreement,” said Parcasio, Misuari’s designated representative to his engagements with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

He added that this is the first time Misuari endorsed a presidential candidate and that the two were long time friends.

Meanwhile, Cayetano vowed to end corruption in the healthcare sector and strictly enforce the anti-hospital deposit law if elected vice president on May 9.

 He said six out of 10 Filipinos die without the benefit of seeing a doctor, pointing out that the poor are discouraged from seeking help in private hospitals because of the needed deposit and from public hospitals because of the lack of medical equipment.

Cayetano cited a 2014 Global Financial Integrity study which revealed that the Philippine economy was cheated of $132.9 billion or more than P6 trillion in illicit money outflows from corruption in the past five decades, incurring losses of over P357 billion yearly on average.

Cayetano said, if elected, he would push for the full coverage of the Philippine Health Insurance Co., as well as the full implementation of PhilHealth’s “zero billing” services to members. – With John Unson, Mike Frialde

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