MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio maintained that her regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), supports the ruling PDP-Laban and has no wish to take away its members.
“We respect the PDP-Laban party. We do not meddle in their faction problem. We support them supporting the administration of PRD (President Rodrigo Duterte),” she told Rappler on Friday, August 10.
“If there is anything that HNP can do to help PDP-Laban, our group is ready to assist them. HNP is offering a hand of friendship to all other political parties who support the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” HNP said in a statement.
The President’s daughter also reiterated that her party is “not recruiting their (PDP-Laban’s) members as HNP members are from Davao Region.”
While HNP maintains it is a regional party, it has endorsed some senatorial candidates, such as reelectionist Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, former Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, and Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar had been spotted joining HNP’s events.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, who is not from the Davao region, also recently took his oath as HNP member. Roque is also said to have plans to run for senator.
However, Mayor Duterte says there’s nothing unusual about HNP endorsing national candidates.
“It is not odd that a local political party carry a senatorial line-up. It has been a practice for every election in all areas of our country,” she told Rappler.
As to Roque taking his oath as HNP member even if he is not from Davao region, she said, “Secretary Roque took his oath because he wanted to and he was just being nice and courteous since he was onstage during the mass oathtaking. Kindness is a Harry Roque virtue.”
HNP, in a statement, advised its “supporters outside of Davao Region” “to form their own local parties or join other national parties — the NUP, NP, NPC, or PDP-Laban.”
Probable national candidates flocking to HNP has led to “confusion” among PDP-Laban leaders and members as to the dynamics between their party and HNP. (READ: PDP-Laban struggles for unity, survival ahead of 2019 polls)
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban President, admitted that the possibility of HNP endorsing national candidates could be an issue to the ruling party.
“I am confused with their confusion. HNP is not a national political party,” said Mayor Duterte.
On Thursday, August 9, President Duterte met with PDP-Laban officials, promising to help the party in the 2019 elections. Duterte ran under the PDP-Laban banner in 2016. – Rappler.com