MANILA - House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday said she was only giving "competent" and "qualified" candidates access to voters in her turf.
Arroyo recently hosted several senatorial candidates in her hometown in Lubao, Pampanga, including former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and lawyer Glenn Chong, as well as Family First Party-list nominee Anne Andanar. She also brought them to meet retired Pampanga Archbishop Paciano Aniceto in neighboring Betis town.
“I am here to give the most competent and most qualified candidates exposure to present their plans and platform of governance to enable Kapampangans to vote wisely," Arroyo said in a statement.
The former President said Kapampangans are "intelligent" voters and do not blindly follow endorsements by political leaders.
"Hindi porke’t sinabi mo ito ang iboto, 'yun ang iboboto. So, hindi issue ang endorsement," she said.
(Not because you said 'vote for this person' means that they will vote for that candidate. So, endorsement is not an issue.)
A province's leaders, she said, can only provide the platform for candidates to present themselves to the voters.
"Tapos sila (mga kandidato) ang magpapaliwanag at ang botante ang magdi-desisyon kung gusto ba nila ito. Kaya ‘yan ang ginagawa ko. Ine-expose sila para sa ganun sila ang magkaintindihan,” Speaker Arroyo said.
(The candidates should be the ones to explain and the voters would decide on whether they like it or not. That is what I am doing. I am exposing them so they can reach an understanding.)
Arroyo is on her final House term, which ends in June 30. She is not running for any position in the 2019 elections.
Last month, she attended the kick-off campaign rally in Pampanga of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chaired by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is said to be instrumental to her assumption of the House leadership last year.
Arroyo also recently hosted former Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan and lawyer Larry Gadon, who are also seeking Senate seats.
Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News