Sara endorses Escudero’s comeback bid

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star
Sara endorses Escuderoâs comeback bid
File photo shows Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero.
Chiz Escudero / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — Vice presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is endorsing Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero’s bid to return to the Senate with a fresh six-year term.

President Duterte’s daughter expressed her full support for Escudero’s senatorial bid last Saturday, when her bike-ride campaign “Mahalin Natin ang Pilipinas Ride” made a stopover in the coastal municipality of Matnog in Sorsogon, the gateway to the island of Luzon, from Northern Samar.

“There are some not included in the UniTeam (senatorial slate) but are still our friend and continue to help as senators… and of course, the governor of Sorsogon, senator Chiz Escudero (is one of them),” Duterte-Carpio said in Filipino in her speech at the Matnog Gymnasium.

The Lakas-CMD and Davao local party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chairperson said her support for non-UniTeam senatoriables would be a testament to the world that the Philippines can move forward united despite the challenges spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’d like to put a face to the saying ‘in unity there is strength’… I’d like to show to the whole world that the Philippines is strong because we’re united,” she said.

Duterte-Carpio is the latest to endorse Escudero, who has consistently topped various pre-election surveys.

Escudero, who has vowed to help in transitioning the country toward economic recovery post-pandemic and push for more autonomy for local government units (LGUs), recently received the support of mayors of Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) and Eastern Samar belonging to the League of Municipalities of the Philippines or LMP, for his Senate run.

Last year, the tandems of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III; Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis Pangilinan; and Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Rep. Lito Atienza, who are all running for president and vice president, respectively, have adopted Escudero in their senatorial slates.

Sara backs Panelo, Padilla

In addition to Escudero, Duterte-Carpio is also backing the senatorial bids of former presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo and actor Robin Padilla even if they are not listed in the UniTeam senatorial slate.

She also mentioned their names when she addressed local officials and her supporters in Matnog.

Other senatorial bets in the UniTeam she did not fail to mention were reelectionist Sherwin Gatchalian, former defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, former public works secretary Mark Villar, former presidential spokesman Harry Roque, and former senators Jinggoy Estrada and Loren Legarda, the deputy speaker from Antique.

Higher pay for barangay volunteers

Meanwhile, Duterte-Carpio said she wants a law that would give better wages and benefits for barangay workers and volunteers, whom she cited as the first responders of LGUs when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.

“It’s always been our barangay volunteers whom we call. It’s time that we have Congress discussing the standardization of their wages,” she said in Filipino, adding that village workers are also the first to act in the various affairs of LGUs.

She paid tribute to barangay nutrition scholars, health workers and kagawads for taking on major tasks in LGUs and not counting the hours to complete their commitment to serve the public even if they are paid for only 2-3 hours worth of work per day.

Duterte-Carpio said government should look into mechanisms to justly compensate the volunteers for the tasks they perform. “Whether you look at them as volunteers and forbid tasking them with full-time work or let’s standardize their wages,” she said.

Meanwhile, the running mate of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said she does not believe he would be disqualified from the race by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“I maintain that the disqualification cases filed against BBM have no basis at all — orchestrated by anti-Marcos forces desperate to regain control of our country,” said Duterte-Carpio, a lawyer.

She also said she does not think Marcos could be disqualified from holding office should he win in the May 9 elections nor does she think of replacing him if she won her bid for vice president.

“I also do not look forward to a scenario of a disqualified BBM (Marcos) before or after the elections. I am not entertaining the thought of possibly replacing him as president,” she said.

Many Filipinos are holding their breath as the Comelec has yet to rule on the petitions seeking to disqualify Marcos, who has remarkably led pre-election surveys.

“There is no discussion between me and presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos about the disqualification charges against him,” Duterte-Carpio said.

“Personally, I find talks about me ‘possibly replacing’ a President Bongbong Marcos exceptionally unpleasant as – in reality – both of us are yet to win the elections. It is putting the cart before the horse,” she added. –  Paolo Romero


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