2022 PH local races

Baste Duterte party drops 2 Davao councilors from bets’ list

Grace Cantal-Albasin
Baste Duterte party drops 2 Davao councilors from bets’ list

CANDIDATE. Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte speaks to reporters after filing his certificate of candidacy on November 9, 2021 at the Comelec office in Davao City.

Manman Dejeto/Rappler

Baste Duterte says in a Facebook post: 'The party believes that their ideals are not in line with the political party’s vision for Davao City and the Philippines'

Two Davao City councilors running for reelection under the slate of Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (HNP-HTL) were dropped from the party’s list of official candidates on Wednesday, November 17. 

Vice Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte on his Facebook page announced that Councilors Nilo “Small” Abellera Jr. and Pamela “Pameng” Librado-Morata were no longer part of the official slate of HNP-HTL candidates for the Davao city council in the 2022 elections and had withdrawn their certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA). 

“The party believes that their (Abellera’s and Librado-Morata’s) ideals are not in line with the political party’s vision for Davao City and the Philippines. We wish them well in their future endeavors,” wrote Vice Mayor Duterte, now a mayoral aspirant.  

In a statement released on Wednesday, November 17, Morata disclosed that her nomination as official member of HTL was withdrawn without any attempt to consult or give her the opportunity to defend herself against baseless and malicious accusations. 

Morata said she was removed from the party due to allegations of her links with the CPP-NDF-NPA and Gabriela, a women’s organization tagged as a front organization of the CPP-NDF-NPA by the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). 

“Bannering the Librado brand of politics, I have always stood my ground against demolition, martial law, the Anti-Terror Bill, among others, even if it meant that I ran against the majority opinion in the council. Though members of the SP and I didn’t see eye to eye on all issues, the discussion was principled,” read part of her statement. 

She said her plans, views, and projects have been an open book to her fellow councilors and to the Davao electorate.

“I hid behind no one, and I am proud to say that I accord anyone, regardless of differing principles, respect and decency. This is one of the core lessons my father, labor leader Nonoy Librado, taught me. My family shall and will always stand by the marginalized and oppressed against all odds,” Morata said.

Morata’s father and two sisters were former city councilors of Davao allied with President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Morata admitted that in her first year as city councilor, she was challenged and treated like a pariah for speaking about the need to investigate the closure of Lumad schools in the city. She got isolated, and worse, her Annual Development Fund was divested in 2019. 

“Despite this, I made no complaints and continued with my work. I remained resolute in continuing with community-based programs such as organic urban gardening, health and vaccine education, mobile community kitchen, and several programs that help empower the community,” she said. 

To her, the lack of resources would never be her excuse to desist from her mandate to serve the people of Davao.

Abellera is seeking his last term as councilor in the 2022 elections. 

Abellera, a friend of 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte, was included in the Senate probe into the P6.4-billion shabu shipment from China in August 2017. – Rappler.com

Grace Cantal-Albasin is a Mindanao-based journalist and awardee of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.