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Rody no ‘lame duck’ president – Andanar

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PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Martin Andanar explains to Daily Tribune Executive Vice President Maria Bettina Fernandez a point during an exclusive interview at the newspaper’s office in Makati. Andanar talked about President Duterte’s remaining days in office and how he has managed to maintain his high popularity rating at the twilight of his term. / PHOTOGRAPH BY ROY PELOVELLO FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

President Rodrigo Duterte has defied the common destiny of Philippine leaders who turned into “lame ducks” before bowing out of office as he remains an influential chief executive, even with a little over three months left in his term, according to Malacañang.

Duterte effortlessly flexed his political influence when the leading presidential candidates in this year’s elections had openly declared that they were seeking his endorsement, said presidential spokesperson Secretary Martin Andanar.

“The fact that all of you are asking who he will endorse [for president] shows that he is no lame duck president,” Andanar said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Tribune.

“The lame duck concept does not apply to him because up to this day, we are still waiting for his endorsement,” he added.

The Palace official said it was an acknowledgment on the part of the Palace hopefuls that the President “is playing his cards well and did his job correctly, even superbly.”

Andanar pointed out that the leading presidential candidates have admitted that they were courting the President for his possible endorsement or would at least welcome it.

Survey frontrunner Bongbong Marcos and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso had said that they were actively seeking the President’s endorsement.

Vice President Leni Robredo, de facto leader of the opposition and a vocal critic of some of Duterte’s policies, earlier said she would be grateful for the President’s endorsement even if she was not seeking it.

Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, who had also criticized the President in the past, said they would welcome any support from the President.

At present, Duterte keeps his foes guessing on whether he would endorse a presidential candidate, though he had bared the qualities that he was looking for in the next Philippine leader.

Duterte — whose term ends at noon of 30 June — earlier said he would not identify his anointed one unless there was a “compelling reason” for him to do so.

The President earned a record-high 72-percent approval rating in the December survey of Pulse Asia, higher than that of his predecessors at a time they were about to bow out of office.

Becoming a lame duck is the common trajectory of all presidents during their dwindling days in office while waiting for their duly elected successor to be inaugurated and assume power.

Watch the Daily Tribune’s interview with Secretary Andanar today, 22 March, at 10 a.m. It will be streamed on Tribune’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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