Duterte endorses Senate candidacy of Freddie Aguilar

November 6, 2018 - 11:45 AM
Freddie Aguilar at COMELEC
Freddie Aguilar holds up his certificate of candidacy form. (Philstar.com/Kat Leandicho)

President Rodrigo Duterte has endorsed the Senate candidacy of folk singer Freddie Aguilar, who was previously tapped to craft his campaign jingle.

Duterte a speech during the inauguration of the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange on Monday said that the 65-year-old artist, who had just delivered a performance, was a worthy Senator as he was a nationalist and a socially-conscious songwriter.

“You know, Freddie Aguilar, all of his songs are nationalist…They are really Tagalog. But all of his songs carry a social message,” Duterte said after Aguilar’s performance of a song about migrant workers’ problems.

“That is why I am asking for your help. Since there are 12 [senators], give it to a nationalist. Someone who loves the country and with the protest of his songs out there, you will see for the next generations and generations to come,” he added in Filipino.

Some are however still unconvinced of the veteran singer’s capability as a public servant.

Aguilar has been a staunch supporter of Duterte ever since the latter announced his intention to run as president in the 2016 national elections. He later wrote and performed one of Duterte’s most popular campaign jingles.

He was later invited to perform the song at Duterte’s inauguration in June 2016.

He was honored by the government in April 2018 when the Senate passed a resolution recognizing him for his lifetime outstanding contributions to the Philippine arts and culture.

From folk singer to Senate candidate

Aguilar is largely known for his legendary hit song “Anak,” the highest-selling record in the history of Filipino music. The song’s popularity has reached foreign shores, having reached the No.1 spot in the U.S Billboard Magazine rankings in the ’80s. The song was later used as part of the soundtrack of the 2015 Korean movie “Gangnam Blues.”

His rendition of the folk song “Bayan Ko” was also used as one of the anthems of the 1986 People Power revolution.

He had been rumored to be part of the PDP-Laban’s Senatorial slate for the 2019 midterm elections early in 2018 before he officially filed his candidacy in October that year.

He said that he would be pushing for the rights and welfare of artists and indigenous people in his platform.

Despite writing in his certificate that he would be running under PDP-Laban, Aguilar was not included in the list of PDP-Laban Senate bets for the midterm polls unveiled by party president Sen. Koko Pimentel.