Hugpong endorses Davao City's Isidro Ungab for House Speaker

DAVAO CITY (UPDATED) – The race for the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress just got tighter with the addition of another aspirant from Mindanao.

A day after her brother Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte said he was considering running for House Speaker, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte's Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) political coalition endorsed for the position Davao lawmaker Isidro Ungab.

HNP said in a statement Wednesday, July 3, that  it "has been patiently observing the developments in the House of Representatives" and understood that President Duterte will not accept Paolo's intent "because of delicadeza."

"Therefore, we are endorsing the bid of Congressman Isidro Ungab for Speaker. Ungab is a four-term congressman and the only lawmaker to hold the chairmanships of both Ways and Means and Appropriations Committees," HNP said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ungab said he is honored by the endorsement and that he is committed to support the President's legislative agenda.

"I abide by the decision of our party Hugpong ng Pagbabago. HNP is ready and open to work with everyone. HNP hopes that everyone will aim for and work towards unity and cooperation in order to establish a strong and efficient House. Rest assured that HNP has a vision of a House that will truly work for and serve the best interest and welfare of the Filipino people," he added.

Aside from pitching for Ungab, the Davao City 3rd District Representative, HNP forwarded solutions for the solve the looming power struggle in the House.

To date, joining Paolo Duterte and Ungab in the battle for House speakership are: Taguig City-Pateros 1st District Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, who is supported by the National Unity Party; Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, who was endorsed by PDP-Laban; Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez, the Lakas-CMD president; and former speaker now Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez

Hugpong proffered a solution to the pitch battle for the top post. It said under Ungab's speakership, Cayetano can be majority leader, Velasco the head of the appropriations committee, and Romualdez as accounts committee chair.

"We earnestly hope that everyone can see the light in this option and move forward with urgency in serving our country," the HNP statement said. 

Earlier, President Duterte said he would resign from the presidency if his son Paolo wanted to become House Speaker.

"Itong si Paolo, sabihin ko sa kanya, if you run for speakership, let me know. Kasi kung tatakbo ka, magre-resign ako," said Duterte.

(This Paolo, let me tell him, if you run for speakership, let me know. Because if you run, I will resign.)

Three of the President's children hold key positions in Davao City, with Sara as mayor Duterte, Sebastian as vice mayor and Paola as congressman. 

HNP was founded by the governors of the Davao regions.

The 58-year-old Ungab, a former banker, started serving Congress as Davao City 3rd district representative in 2007. He was succeeded by a brother, Alberto, in the 17th Congress.

A graduate of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Ungab pursued Advanced Bank Management Program (ABMP) at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and Masters in Public Management (MPM) at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).

He is reserved military officer holding the rank of colonel. He was also instrumental in the passage of the Sin Tax Law of 2012. – Rappler.com