In the wake of a substitution drama that has left the country politically charged months ahead of the 2022 elections, President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday evening, November 16, hosted a dinner in Malacañang for lawmakers across political parties.
The House adjourned early at 3 pm on Tuesday for the dinner. The invited lawmakers flocked to the Palace starting 4 pm to get their tests and answer questionnaires. The dinner started at 7 pm and ended at 9 pm.
They dined on vegetable chowder, pepper-crusted tuna, and berry parfait.
At the start of Duterte’s speech, he even made a disclaimer that the dinner had “no political agenda,” according to House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero.
But DIWA Representative Michael Aglipay, who was also there, said Duterte asked them to support himself, Bong Go, and Sara Duterte.
“Standing order, SBG (Senator Bong Go), Sara for 2022 in his (Duterte’s) speech,” Aglipay said in a text message.
Go also made an appearance in the dinner – the only senator there.
The invite was made from Sunday to Monday, November 14 to 15, right after Sara on Saturday, November 13, filed her candidacy for vice president via substitution – a decision that displeased Duterte.
It also appears that the dinner was rushed as no formal invites were made. Lawmakers whom Rappler corresponded with said they were either called directly by Malacañang or informed through the office of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Noticeably missing from the dinner was House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, president of Lakas-CMD and the cousin of presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
According to Aglipay, lawmakers from all parties were invited, save for those from Lakas-CMD. Even House Minority Leader Stephen Paduano was invited, as well as Deputy Speaker Kristine Singson-Meehan of the Northern Luzon bloc.
Lakas-CMD and Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas have agreed to push a unified ticket in the 2022 elections, according to Marcos, who is running for president with Sara as running mate.
After dinner, lawmakers took selfies with Duterte before heading off. – Rappler.com