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Davao City, Philippines

Mayor Sara admits being ‘nervous’ for HNP Senate candidates

May 13, 2019 - Monday 5:05 PM by Ayan Mellejor

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte talks to the media after casting her vote at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School. Photo courtesy of City Information Office

DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Sara Duterte on Monday admitted feeling “nervous” over how the senatorial slate of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) will fare in the midterm polls, saying this year’s election is a crucial exercise for the administration of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I'd like to request everyone to go out and vote and choose candidates on their assessment who should the lead senate and local government," she said in an interview with reporters after she cast her vote at the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School (DRANHS) at around 8:35 a.m.

The mayor made the remark after noticing that fewer people were at the polling area in the first hour of the election compared with the turnout during the 2016 Presidential election.

In the interview, Sara said each vote is important because President Duterte has been having difficulty in pushing what he wants the country in the first three years of the administration because of a lack of support from the Senate.

"That is why we really tried hard during the campaign pagkuha ng suporta para sa mga senador na nakakaintindi kung ano ang vision ng ating Presidente and hopefully bobotohan nila (That is why we really tried hard during the campaign to get support for senators who understand the vision of the President in the hope that the people will vote for them),” she said.

Sara urged her father to cast his vote, saying even one vote is important. The President was expected to vote at 3 p.m. in the same precinct.

Two Davaoeño candidates being endorsed by the HNP -- former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go and former Philippine National Police Chief (PNP) chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa -- are both in the winning circle based on surveys.

Go voted at around 11:40 a.m. at the Buhangin Central Elementary School after queueing for more than two-and-a-half hours. He had refused VIP treatment when he arrived.

Dela Rosa, for his part, cast his vote early at the Apolinar Franco Elementary School in Barangay Bato, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.

Independent national surveys indicate winning a Senate majority is well within reach of Duterte and would give him legislative backing for his programs.

Historically, the nation's 24 senators -- who serve six-year terms -- have had a reputation for being more independent-minded than the Lower House.

The opposition, however, warns that this could lead to the single-term limit for the presidency being lifted, allowing him to seek re-election despite his repeated statements that he would stand down at the end of his mandate.

It would also allow him to expand his contentious anti-drug crackdown by bringing back the death penalty, a pledge that the UN Human Rights Council said gave it "deep alarm."

The results for municipal and city mayors as well as councils are expected within hours of polls closing at 6 p.m. Monday, with winners for the Senate and congressional seats likely to be declared on Friday. With a report from Agence France-Presse

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