President Rodrigo Duterte (center) with six of seven PDP-Laban senatorial bets (from left(sad) Rodante Marcoleta, Robin Padilla, Salvador Panelo, Rey Langit, Greco Belgica, and Astra Pimentel (Photo courtey of PDP-Laban Facebook)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte vouched for the “impressive” track record of senatorial aspirants, former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) chairperson Greco Belgica and House Deputy Speaker Rolando Marcoleta.

This, after Duterte admitted that he was one of the people who lobbied Greco and Marcoleta to join the May 9, 2022 senatorial race.

During the President’s Chatroom aired on state-run PTV-4 on Saturday night, Duterte expressed hope that the Filipino electorate would vote for Greco whom he praised for his performance and anti-corruption initiatives during his stint at the PACC.

Greco, during his one-on-one meeting with Duterte, assured the Chief Executive of the continuity of the outgoing administration’s policies and programs, including the anti-narcotics campaign.

Greco also vowed to maintain peace and order in the country, strengthen the justice system, and introduce amendments to the “passive” anti-corruption law.

Duterte said he is confident that Greco, if elected to the Senate, will be able to fulfill his promise to push for legislative measures that will benefit the country.

“Just listening to you, if you can only achieve even a half of what you are telling us now, lalo na ‘yung pag-ano sa batas (especially on the laws, if) you strengthen it, you are, I said, you are on the right track. So, I am urging you to campaign hard. Paalamin natin ‘yung tao kung gaano ka ka-Pilipino na nag-mahal ng bayan (Let the public know how you love the country),” he said.

Duterte also promised to campaign for Belgica who is one of the “Lucky 7” senatorial candidates of the Chief Executive’s ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

“I saw you work hard and I think, even if you just get half of what you’re getting, you will be good, I am sure, ‘pag umabot ka ng Senado (if you secure a Senate seat),” he told Belgica.

Meantime, Duterte admitted that he had started liking Marcoleta, who was also part of the PDP-Laban's "Lucky 7" Senate bets, upon witnessing the latter’s dedication to running after oligarchs.

Duterte also backed Marcoleta for being the most vocal lawmaker opposing the franchise renewal of local media giant ABS-CBN Corp.

“I was very much impressed,” he told Marcoleta. “Hindi ka takot sa oligarchs. Hindi ka takot sa pera nila (You are not afraid of oligarchs. You are not afraid of what they could do using their money.”

He was likewise all praise for Marcoleta for being a “principled man, extremely honest and a [man] with integrity.”

“Iyan ang gusto ko, Manalo ka (What I want is you win). Use the passion that you have in your heart to work for the Filipino people lalo na ako, paalis na (especially that I’m about to step down from office),” Duterte said. (PNA)