Rodrigo Duterte

At dinner with lawmakers, Duterte endorses Go-Sara for 2022

Rambo Talabong

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At dinner with lawmakers, Duterte endorses Go-Sara for 2022

UNSCRIPTED. President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to lawmakers in Malacañang on Tuesday night, November 16, 2021.

House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero

Noticeably missing from the dinner is Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez

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.

There, before around 100 lawmakers, Duterte endorsed Senator Bong Go for president and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for vice president in 2022.

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.

No politics?
At dinner with lawmakers, Duterte endorses Go-Sara for 2022

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.

Where’s Lakas?
At dinner with lawmakers, Duterte endorses Go-Sara for 2022

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. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.