Sara Duterte’s political party has no Comelec approval yet – poll exec

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The newly-formed political party led by Presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio has yet to seek approval from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), a regional official of the agency said Thursday, February 22.

Marlon Casquejo, Comelec XI assistant regional director, said Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) needs to file a petition before the poll body if it aims to establish a regional political party, as announced by Duterte-Carpio two days ago.

“We have a given date when they can file a petition,” Casquejo told ABS-CBN Davao in a report.

As far as the poll body is concerned, Casquejo said, “Our timeline on when to file applications for political party isn’t out yet.”

Duterte-Carpio confirmed a Philippine Daily Inquirer report that she has formed HNP along with Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy, and Davao Oriental Nelson Dayanghirang.

Some of these governors, including Duterte-Carpio, are members of existing political parties, which Casquejo said would become an issue.

“If they are to push this political party, they have to resign,” Casquejo said in Cebuano.

Otherwise, he added, the party will only count as a coalition.

Casquejo noted that HNP, if approved, would become the region’s first locally-formed political party.

It borrowed its name Hugpong from Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, a party formed by President Rodrigo Duterte when he was involved in Davao City politics.

The HNP expects to gather some 500 leaders from Davao Region, an administrative division in Mindanao which was once a single province when the Moro Province was discontinued in 1914.

Its officers hold strategic positions in regional leadership, with Del Rosario being the Regional Development Council XI chairperson which prepared a medium-term investment program for the region between 2017 and 2022, and Uy as chair of Davao’s Regional Peace and Order Council. –