Duterte: Nothing wrong in switching political parties

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(From L-R) Senator Manny Pacquiao, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Koko Pimentel

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 21) — President Rodrigo Duterte — who campaigned in 2016 with only a handful of officials behind him — said he doesn't blame local officials who switched sides to join his political party after his victory.

He says joining a sitting president's party is a part of politics.

He said. "Hindi ninyo kasalanan ngayon na nandito kayo sa akin. Kasi, that is the culture of politics everywhere. Na kung sino yung manalo, maglipat doon pati yung incumbent mayors because you want to help. You must be friends with everybody including the president."

[Translation: It's not your fault that you're with me now. Because that is the culture of politics everywhere. You go with the winner, everyone switches even the incumbent mayors because you want to help. You must be friends with everybody, including the president.]

"It's not really opportunism but rather that is really the politics of our time. Now ako, kung suportahan ako ng karamihan ng tao, I will appreciate it," the President added.

[Translation: It's not really opportunism, but rather that is really the politics of our time. Now me, if a lot of people will support me, I will appreciate it.]

Duterte, speaking before members of the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Council (MRRD-NECC), said he won't mind if officials who supported his opponents in 2016 - Mar Roxas, Grace Poe, and Jejomar Binay - now express support for him.

He said the issues then were unimportant.

'Tapos na yun. Bakit pa ako mag-ano...panalo na ako [That is over. Why should I make a fuss... I won]," he said

MRRD-NECC is a volunteers group which aggressively campaigned for Duterte during the elections.