PILI, Camarines Sur -- It wasn’t clear whether President Rodrigo Duterte was joking about cutting off funds for the Bicol region, but he sounded serious in endorsing his favored senatorial candidates.


The President on Friday made a pitch for his former police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and his once closest aide, Christopher “Bong” Go, who are now running for the Senate.


During a light banter at the briefing for damage caused by Tropical Depression “Usman,” the President endorsed the two candidates.


He also endorsed Francis Tolentino, a defeated senatorial candidate in 2016 and former chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority.


Should Bicol fail to support his senatorial candidates, the President said in jest that he still had three years in office.


“If they lose, I still have three years,” the President said.


“I can block your budget,” he said amid laughter.


Go distributed relief goods to residents of storm-stricken areas in Bicol during the President’s visit.


He was with the President during an aerial survey of the damage left by Usman in Camarines Sur.


Go said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. also helped provide financial assistance to families of those who died in flooding and landslides.


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