DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 March) – The conveners of the Mayor Sara Duterte-led Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) condemned the removal of Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab as chair of the Committee on Appropriations, considered as one of the most powerful committees in the Lower House, after rumors of coup attempts floated recently against Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the group said Ungab’s ouster on Monday “was grossly unacceptable as it is disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda for the Filipino people and the country.”
It can be recalled that Ungab was endorsed by the HNP for the speakership after the May 2019 elections amid the factions then between Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, who both aimed for the speakership.
The two camps agreed on a term-sharing agreement, while Ungab, also an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Lower House, was to lead the House Committee on Appropriations, one of the most powerful committees tasked to scrutinize the national budget.
“We laud him for being a good soldier of President Rodrigo Duterte and for doing his job with pride and principle,” the group said.
Ungab was also founding member of the so-called “Duterte Coalition” in the Lower House, established by presidential son Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, along with five other representatives who ran under the HNP and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (HTL).
The group’s founding members are the presidential son, Ungab, Davao City 2nd District Representative Vincent Garcia, 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 Duterte Coalition claims it 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.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)