MANILA, Apr 11 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Sunday said the state-run show that features President Rodrigo Duterte interviewing senatorial candidates whom he endorsed for the May 2022 polls is part of the national government’s information dissemination drive.

The first episode of “The President’s Chatroom” which aired Saturday night featured two senatorial candidates of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission Chair Greco Belgica and House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta.

“The President’s Chatroom aims to introduce certain senatorial candidates and their platforms to the wider Filipino audience,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in a press statement.

He said viewers would benefit from knowing about the candidates Duterte personally endorsed.

“This forms part of the government information dissemination drive about the 2022 elections and candidates whom President Rodrigo Roa Duterte earlier vowed to personally campaign for, and once they get elected, would ensure continuity of the policies and programs of the current administration,” he added.

People’s Television Network, Inc., in partnership with the Commission on Elections and the PCOO, launched “The Chatroom” last month to inform the public of candidates’ platforms and agenda.

Andanar has already interviewed presidential candidates Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Senator Manny Pacquiao, Ernesto Abella, and even known government critic Leody de Guzman.

Vice presidential bet Dr. Willie Ong and other Senate hopefuls have also been in “The Chatroom”.

During the PDP-Laban grand proclamation rally in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on March 31, Duterte endorsed 17 senatorial candidates, including six of the party’s seven senatorial candidates.

Except for former Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Duterte expressed support for broadcaster Rey Langit, actor Robin Padilla, former presidential legal counsel and spokesperson Salvador Panelo, and former Commission on Filipinos Overseas Executive Director Astra Pimentel.

The President also endorsed Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, siblings and former senators JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada, Sorsogon Gov. Francis Escudero, former Information and Communications Technology secretary Gregorio Honasan, former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, former Defense secretary Gilbert Teodoro, former Public Works secretary Mark Villar, and reelectionist Senators Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Nine of the 17 candidates are also in the senatorial lineup of the UniTeam coalition of standard bearer Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte, namely Estrada, Honasan, Legarda, Marcoleta, Padilla, Roque, Teodoro, Villar, and Zubiri. (MNS)

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