Choose 12 of 13 Hugpong Senate bets based on track record – Sara Duterte

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 13) — Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte gave out a piece of advice for voters in choosing among the 13 Senate bets her party is endorsing for the midterm polls.

Duterte said the public should take a look at a candidate's track record and future political plans.

"Kung ako ang pipili ng 12, track record. Pangalawa, kung ano sinasabi niya na gagawin niya sa senado para sa pag-unlad ng bayan. Pangatlo, (ang) pag-suporta sa administrasyon ni Pangulong Duterte," the mayor said during the party's campaign rally in Bataan.

[Translation: If I were to pick among the 12, I'll look at the track record. Second, their plans for the Senate that would contribute to the betterment of the nation. Third, his or her support for the administration of President Duterte.]

Netizens, as well as government critics, questioned the party for endorsing a 13-man slate, when there are only 12 seats up for grabs in the upper chamber.

The senatorial candidates under HNP include Senator Aquilino "Kiko" Pimentel III, former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, former National Police Chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, and former Presidential Legal Adviser Francis Tolentino. The party is also endorsing re-electionist Senators Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito and Sonny Angara, former Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla and Pia Cayetano, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and former journalist Jiggy Manicad.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier warned that voting for all 13 would render the votes invalid.

"If you over-voted the position of senator and party-list then affected ang senator and party-list hindi mabibilang for the two positions everything else will be counted," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

[Translation: If you over-voted for the position of senator and party-list, then it would affect the votes for the two positions.]

The Davao City mayor explained the move, saying the Senate hopefuls asked for the party's help in campaigning.

"Meron kaming 13 senatorial candidates dahil 13 sila na lumapit at humingi ng tulong na kung pwede ay tulungan sila sa kampanya nila para sa 2019 elections," Duterte noted.

[Translation: We have 13 senatorial candidates because the 13 of them approached us and asked for help for the campaigning in the 2019 elections.]

Nine of the senatorial candidates trooped to Bataan Wednesday morning for the second day of the campaign period. Bataan has almost half a million voters.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.