Duterte endorsement 'wouldn't mean much' at this point, says analyst

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Duterte endorsement 'wouldn't mean much' at this point, says analyst
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pampanga Provincial Hospital at the Changi Gateway in Clark Global City on May 1, 2022.
Presidential Photos / Arman Baylon

MANILA, Philippines — An endorsement from President Rodrigo Duterte would not benefit a presidential candidate that much less than a week away from the May 9 elections simply because there's not enough time, a political analyst said. 

This statement comes as Duterte continues to insist in a televised speech, aired Tuesday, that he won't be campaigning for any candidate to be his successor in the polls. His political party PDP-Laban had earlier endorsed Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., his daughter's running mate, for the presidency.

"I don't think [the president's endorsement] will still be significant... No backing out from any presidential contender, endorsing another [candidate] or the endorsement of the president will be enough for the simple reason that there is not enough time anymore to go around and inform practically everyone, 'Hey, I am not running for office. I'm instead endorsing this particular candidate," said Prof. Edmund Tayao in an interview Tuesday by ANC.

"In the case of the president, the same thing. He goes around and says that, 'I will entrust the office that I am vacating to this particular person.' There is simply no time anymore."

The campaign period for national candidates had been running for 84 days now since Feb. 8, 2022, with political bets going around the country, leading rallies, answering queries from the supporters, skeptics and fellow candidates in debates.

With internet penetration still very limited in the country — only around 50% of the Philippine population according to 2020 World Bank data — Tayao claimed that endorsing anyone at this juncture would have a pretty hard time making a dent.

"Even in the age of social media, whether we like it or not, there are still areas in the country that remain dependent or relying on radio not only for information but even for entertainment," Tayao said.

"It would be quite difficult to inform everyone that, 'This is the endorsement and I am supporting a particular candidate.'"

Endorsing 'no one' with polls just 6 days away

Instead of publicly voicing his support for any presidential candidate, Duterte said that his administration is more inclined to ensure an orderly, clean and honest election "free from violence" next week.

"Towards this attaining clean and honest election, the reason why I am not supporting any candidate... it is my constitutional duty also to see to it that everything that the law, the rules are followed," explained Duterte.

"You can choose kung sino 'yung kandidato ninyo... Pero ulitin ko... Wala. Wala akong kandidato [sa] pagkapresidente ngayon hanggang Disyembre para ma-ano ninyo na."

The controversial president said he had already directed his Cabinet members not to endorse any political candidates as much as possible.

Duterte earlier endorsed his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for the vice presidency alongside seven senatorial bets.

Even with the non-endorsement of Marcos, Duterte joined forces with his PDP-Laban party mates in a campaign rally in Cebu.

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