DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 5 July) – Seven lawmakers in the House of Representatives who ran under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (HTL), collectively known as the “Hugpong Alliance,” have established the Duterte Coalition and warned cabinet members who are rumored to have been supporting candidates for the speakership to draw the line between executive and legislative branches of the government.
The coalition’s founding members consist of presidential son and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Z. Duterte, Davao City 2nd District Representative Vincent Garcia, comebacking Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab, Davao Oriental 1st District Representative Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley 1st District Representative Manuel Zamora, Davao Occidental Representative Lorna Bautista-Bandigan, Marino Partylist Representatives Carlo “Sandro” Gonzales and Jose Antonio Lopez.
The group, in a statement issued on Friday, said that the “Duterte Coalition is a strategic partnership of dynamic public servants who are committed to institute governance and development reforms that are necessary for the Philippines to secure its rightful place in the world stage of nations, particularly in the Southeast Asian region.”
The coalition said even President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself has repeatedly mentioned that he would steer clear from the selection of the next leadership in the Lower House to avoid disenfranchising other candidates who are his allies.
It said the cabinet members should leave the choice to the lawmakers, who are “elected and serve a mandate with an authority direct from the people,” as the “only rightful electorate for their leader.”
“Everyone should note that, Cabinet members serve only on the basis of the trust and confidence of the President and should not participate in the selection of the Speaker,” the statement read.
The Duterte Coalition also invited other members of the Lower House “who believe in positive change” to join them and extended a “special call” to be a partner to Taguig 1st District Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, and Marinduque’s lone district Representative Lord Velasco, who have publicly expressed the intention to vie for the speakership.
The HNP, a regional party led by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, earlier endorsed Ungab to be the next House Speaker in case Rep. Duterte’s intention to run for the speakership will not be accepted by his father-president out of delicadeza. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)