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Sara Duterte’s Hugpong slate launches campaign in vote-rich Pampanga

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. File

PAMPANGA – The coalition of senatorial bets under Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago kicked off its campaign in vote-rich Pampanga Tuesday morning.

Sara’s HNP is teeming with candidates, fielding one slot more than the usual 12-person slate being fielded by political parties in the past.

HNP-endorsed candidates include re-electionists Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, and JV Ejercito, as well as Pia Cayetano, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla, who are hoping to make a comeback in the upper chamber.

Completing the HNP slate are President Rodrigo Duterte’s former political adviser Francis Tolentino, Senate race newcomers former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, former police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, Maguindanao Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu, former journalist Jiggy Manicad, and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.

The HNP slate is separate from the leaner team of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakad ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), which fields Dela Rosa, Go, Mangudadatu, Pimentel and Tolentino.

A launch in Pampanga for the campaign of the administration coalition is significant in many ways. The rich-vote province, which delivered a win for President Duterte in the 2016 polls, is also a bailiwick of former president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Sara, who has become an influential power broker in the Duterte administration, helped install Arroyo as Speaker, ousting Pantaleon Alvarez.