News Release

President Duterte tells candidates: Allow people to vote freely

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) campaign rally at the Garcia-Hernandez Sports and Training Center in Bohol on May 8, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

GARCIA-HERNANDEZ, Bohol— President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday renewed his call to all candidates running for public office to shun violence and let the people exercise their right to vote freely or else they will face the full force of the law.

During the campaign rally in Bohol, the President said he had to drop by Negros Occidental before going to Bohol to confront a mayor suspected of fomenting mayhem.

“Well, there’s a certain mayor that’s really the suspect of everybody. So, I confronted the mayor. I talked to him,” the President said in his speech.

“So, you just be careful…allow everybody to vote freely. This is a democracy. This is an exercise of the right of the people to choose their leader,” he added.

According to the President, public officials are mandated by the Constitution to obey the law. He added that he remains committed to his promise of ensuring orderly and peaceful election during his time as president.

“It’s when you start to break rules…that’s when it starts to magka-leche-leche. Eh, sundin mo lang ‘yung batas at walang problema,” the President said.

Also, President Duterte wants the members of the Armed Forces and the police to remain neutral during the campaign period and election.

And while the members of his cabinet can campaign for candidates whom they support, the President said he barred them from being partisan to avoid controversy.

Cabinet members must act with delicadeza and must refrain from campaigning for anybody through the use of government resources, the President said.

The President also pitched for his local bets in Bohol Wednesday night, campaigning for former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr, his longtime aide and friend. Evasco, who is pitted against House Rep. Arthur Yap, is running for Bohol governor.

Calling Evasco “a brilliant guy,” the President told Boholanos that the former cabinet secretary is a staunch graft fighter.

“If there’s corruption, I let him handle it. And for the longest time, he was the city engineer of Davao,” he said.

Evasco was a three-term mayor of Maribojoc town before he joined President Duterte’s Cabinet. He was also President Duterte’s campaign manager during the 2016 presidential election.

Also present during the campaign rally were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Garcia-Hernandez Mayor Tita Baja-Gallentes, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino. PND