In this file photo, former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino shows his certificate of candidacy for senator. Duterte endorsed Tolentino at his former political adviser's birthday celebration in Tagaytay City.
Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
Duterte 'shocked' at senatorial survey results, endorses Tolentino
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - January 3, 2019 - 8:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday belittled the front-runners of polls on senatorial bets as he made another pitch for his former officials who are not in the winning circle.

Duterte expressed shock over the names who topped the senatorial polls, saying the people chose them even if there are candidates who are knowledgeable and reliable. This, despite most of the survey front-runners being Duterte allies.

"I do not have to derogate others pero yung sa ano ngayon nangunguna sa survey, susmaryosep (the latest survey front-runners, oh my goodness) but if that is the way your country..." Duterte said during the birthday party of former political affairs adviser Francis Tolentino in Tagaytay City.

Tolentino lost in the 2016 senatorial elections and is trying get elected to a Senate seat in the May polls.

"May mga tao dito dedicated, may alam, abogado (There are people here who are dedicated, who are knowledgable, a lawyer)," he added. 

RELATED: Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe still lead senatorial survey — SWS

Political allies in survey's Top 12

Duterte did not name names and did not elaborate on his issues with the leading senatorial bets.

Senators Cynthia Villar and Grace Poe topped the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey on senatorial bets conducted from Dec. 16 to 19 in 2018.

Other senatorial bets who made it to the Top 12 were Rep. Pia Cayetano (Taguig), Senators Sonny Angara and Nancy Binay, former senator Lito Lapid, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, former senator Jinggoy Estrada, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito.

Except for Roxas of the Liberal Party, all others on the list are either political allies or are part of the administration-friendly majority blocs at the House and Senate.

Although Binay and Poe have criticized some government policies, they are part of the Senate majority.

Lapid, who is seeking a return to the Senate, is running under the Nationalist People's Coalition led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Duterte went on to endorse Tolentino, calling him a "hardworking public servant." 

The president also expressed support for former police and corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa, whom he described as "honest" and his former aide Christopher Go.

Tolentino ranked 17th to 18th in the SWS poll while dela Rosa and Go were tied at 14th to 15th place.

Last November, Duterte also appeared to endorse folk singer and senatorial candidate Freddie Aguilar, saying "maybe he can relate or translate his songs in Congress and give him a chance also."  The Palace later said that the president "may be referring to you people to vote for this man as an outstanding man."

RELATED: Duterte defends Tolentino in 2015 Playgirls controversy

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS SENATORIAL SURVEY SOCIAL WEATHER STATIONS
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