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    PDP-Laban exec and Duterte ally says endorsement of Robredo had PRRD’s blessing

    MANILA, Philippines – PDP-Laban’s Vice President for Visayas and Eastern Samar Governor Ben Evardone said on Tuesday that his endorsement of Leni Robredo had the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte.

    Evardone, a close ally of Duterte, recently picked the opposition leader to support in the 2022 presidential race. He said he came up with the decision based on the qualifications that Duterte himself stated.

    endorsement of Robredo had Duterte blessing
    PDP-Laban exec Gov. Ben Evardone said their endorsement of Leni Robredo had President Rodrigo Duterte's "support" | Photo Courtesy: Presidential Photo, GMA News

    Earlier, Duterte said he hoped that his successor would be someone compassionate, decisive, and a lawyer. There are currently two lawyers running for president, Robredo, and Jose Montemayor.

    Duterte said, “Ang ano nga is, hindi naman ako nagsabi it’s the best quality, but one of the good qualities of a president, sana abogado. Isang tingin mo lang, maka-decide ka na kaagad. And the repercussions, alam mo na kung ano. Whatever kind of --- how would you say --- issue or --- alam mo na.”

    According to Evardone, Duterte’s statement was like “a virtual endorsement of Vice President Leni Robredo.”

    Evardone’s statement goes, “We welcome and support the high bar President Duterte has set for his successor. He knows whereof he speaks, and we understand it. It is the same standard with which he tries to measure himself in governing the nation,” Evardone said.

    “For me and for millions of Filipinos, there is only one decisive and compassionate lawyer among those aspiring to be President and she is VP Leni,” he stated.

    Answering the questions if the president approved his endorsement, Evardone confirmed that it had the blessing of Duterte.

    He admitted that they sought the president’s approval before releasing their statement of endorsement for Robredo. He said the president respected and supported their decision.

    “Out of respect for PRRD as our President, as a father figure to me and as our party leader, I told him that I am about to endorse VP Leni because I see in her the sincerity of a leader to help the poor," Evardone said.

    He recalled Duterte's reply, "I understand. I respect and support your decision."

    Following the PDP-Laban exec’s endorsement, several groups are now pushing for the tandem of Robredo and vice presidentiable Sara Duterte-Carpio. Using the hashtag #LeniSara2022, netizens aired their hopes and optimism that the pair would win and work together.

    — Sally, The Summit Express

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