DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Feb) – Mayor Sara Duterte, who made a joke about running for Congress because she wants to become House Speaker during a gathering of businessmen last January 26 at the SMX Convention Center Davao, announced on Friday that she would either seek for reelection as local chief executive or run for the lower House in next year’s midterm elections.
Duterte made the pronouncement during a press conference organized by her newly created regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) at the Royal Mandaya Hotel, a day after she lashed out at Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on social media for allegedly labeling her as part of the opposition for leading HNP.
Although “everything is up in the air right now,” Duterte made it clear that she would not gun for senator.
“We will discuss with the party what is best for Davao Region. There are only two paths for me to choose, but definitely not senator. It’s just city mayor or Congress,” she said.
In her keynote message during the 50th Annual Installation of Officers and Board of Trustees of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. on January 26, Duterte said she would rather stay in the city than run for a national position. But she said, in jest, that she considers running for the House of Representatives.
“I want to work and live here in Davao City. But you know I always tell the people when they ask me kung ano tatakbohan ko sinasabi ko talaga na mag-congresswoman kasi gusto ko maging Speaker of the House (what position will I run, I always tell that I want to be a congresswoman because I want to be Speaker of the House),” she said.
The mayor chairs the HNP, and co-founded by four governors of the Davao Region – Davao Occidental’s Claude Bautista (president), Davao Oriental’s Nelson Dayanghirang (vice president), Davao del Norte’s Antonio del Rosario (secretary general), and Compostela Valley’s Jayvee Tyron Uy (treasurer).
Saying she has no plans of joining Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Duterte said they have forged HNP to push for what is good for Davao Region.
Duterte added she would no longer run under Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Hugpong), a local political party that her father, President Rodrigo R. Duterte, founded.
She said she has the blessing of her father in creating a regional political party, even the use of the name “Hugpong,” apparently borrowed from her father’s local political party.
She clarified that there’s no conflict leading a new regional political party because Hugpong is a local party and not a regional party.
“Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod of Davao is a local party. We did not touch Hugpong and their local parties as well in their respective provinces but the agreement is when we run, we run under HNP. If there are local parties, they will run under HNP,” she said.
Duterte said they are preparing to file a petition for accreditation as a regional party before the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Duterte said all members would have to run under the HNP umbrella as she explained that their members would have to give up their existing memberships with other regional parties.
Duterte said she asked permission from her father before they created HNP, along with four other governors, except for Davao del Sur ‘s Douglas Cagas, who has yet to decide on joining.
Cagas is still welcome to join HNP, she said.
Del Rosario, who resigned from Liberal party in November 2017, said it’s not new when members of coalition parties will run against each other during election period.
But he added they have the support of most of the incumbent and former officials in Davao del Norte.
For his part, although there was no conflict on joining a regional party, Dayanghirang gave up his membership with LP to focus on his membership with HNP to advance the “sustainable peace and development programs for Region 11.”
He claimed to have the 100-percent support of the local chief executives in Davao Oriental and that 120 officials from his province have signified interest to be members of HNP.
Bautista said if he files his candidacy under HNP, it’s considered resigned from the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Uy said he resigned from PDP-Laban on Friday morning “to focus more on the region and help live up to the vision” of HNP.
He claimed he has the support of the majority of the local politicians in Compostela Valley.
Duterte invited 2nd District Rep. Mylene Garcia, who is not a member of any local or regional party, to join HNP but admitted no invitation was sent to 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles and 3rd District Rep. Alberto Ungab. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)