DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 August) — Resigned Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte will seek public office in the 2019 midterm elections if his mayor-sister, Mayor Sara Duterte, would allow him to run.
The former vice Mayor spoke before barangay officials from the city during the mass oath-taking as members of regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) at the SMX Convention Center Davao on Friday, his first public appearance nearly eight months after he resigned from his post on December 25, 2017.
“Moabot lang gihapun ang panahon nga makabalik ta sa pagserbisyo sa katawhan. Hinaot nga matagaan ta og pagtugot ni mayora. Kung dili ni mosugot, dili man ta kabalik (Time will come when we can serve the public again. (I hope Mayor Sara allows me. If she won’t, I can’t go back to public service),” Paolo said.
He did not say what position he would seek if he runs in 2019. His sister is being eyed by the ruling PDP-Laban party to run for the Senate.
The eldest son of President Rodrigo Duterte, appeared at the oath-taking in support of the new regional political party created and chaired by the mayor.
In a statement sent out to the media at 6:45 p.m., around two hours after delivering his speech, the former vice mayor said he will go back to public service if the Dabawenyos need him.
“But there are many other ways to serve the Dabawenyos and our dear city — being in politics is just one of them. And if I can serve best through politics, it would be my pleasure to be of service to you and to our city — just like before,” he said.
He and his brother-in-law lawyer Manases Carpio were dragged into the smuggling controversy as members of the so-called Davao Group, the group allegedly behind shabu shipment from China that arrived via the Manila International Container in Tondo, Manila in May last year.
The two appeared in a Senate probe on September 7, 2017 where they denied involvement in the smuggling.
“I believe in the principles of HNP and its aspirations to establish a strong and competitive Davao Region resonate significantly with many political leaders,” he said.
The presidential son said he would commit to the HNP’s advocacies and support his father to help fulfill the plans and programs of his administration.
This was the fifth mass oath-taking ceremony held in Davao Region after Compostela Valley on July 19, Davao Oriental on July 1, Davao del Norte on August 3, and Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur on August 6.
The HNP was launched on February 23, 2018 with the presidential daughter as chair, Davao Occidental’ Governor Claude Bautista as president, Davao Oriental’s Governor Nelson Dayanghirang as vice president, Davao del Norte’s Governor Anthony del Rosario as secretary general, and Compostela Valley’s Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy as treasurer.
Aside from the local barangay officials, the gathering was attended by provincial, city, municipal, and barangay officials who pledged allegiance to the HNP. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)