Sara launches own party
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Sara Duterte on Friday formally launched a regional political group which has become an irritant between the President’s daughter and one of his closest allies, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
In a press conference during the launch of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) Party, Sara reacted to Alvarez’s denial of statements attributed to him which supposedly described Sara as an opposition figure and her new party as a product of political dynasties.
Sara said what Alvarez said about her was confided to her by a mayor who had spoken to the Speaker. She refused to identify the mayor, saying her source was afraid of retribution from Alvarez.
In her press conference, Sara listed at least three reasons she got mad at Alvarez: “Number one, he said I am acting alone. Second, that HNP is a product of political dynasties. Third, that HNP does not have the approval of the President.”
In a speech she later delivered at the HNP general assembly, she said Alvarez should not even mention her name. “The best maybe for Speaker Alvarez to do is do not mention my name,” said Sara.
She said if she heard “even a whisper of my name in your lips,” she would “personally make sure, that I will personally campaign against you.” “I’ll leave my candidacy here in Davao. I don’t care if I lose, but I will make sure also that you will lose in your district,” she said.
Alvarez had denied saying what Sara had attributed to him.
Quoting her source, Sara said Alvarez considered those who would join HNP as members of the opposition because the regional party did not have the blessing of Mr. Duterte.
She said leaders and members of HNP approached and consulted the President about the new political group. “Whatever the governors want,” Sara quoted her father as saying in reaction to the forming of HNP.
Sara chairs the new party. Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista is president, Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang is vice president, Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony del Rosario is secretary general and Compostela Valley Gov. Jayvee
Tyron Uy is treasurer of HNP.
Del Rosario is first cousin of Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., erstwhile pal and now bitter enemy of Alvarez after they had a parting of ways over their mistresses’ spat.
According to Sara, aside from threatening to tag leaders and members of HNP as opposition, Alvarez also promised to field his own candidates against HNP candidates in the next elections.
“He told me, tell Inday Sara that I will run a full slate in Davao del Norte,” Sara said.
Del Rosario had said he ceased to be a member of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. The governor is also not in good terms with Alvarez.
Sara said she told her mayor-source to tell Alvarez that “I have no interest in their politics in Davao del Norte … What we want is to strengthen the Davao region.”
Not my friend
Sara first vented her anger on Alvarez on Thursday, using her personal social media accounts, claiming that Alvarez even sounded threatening when the Speaker said, in reference to Mr. Duterte: “He is President. I am Speaker. I can always impeach him!”
Alvarez responded by saying that the information Duterte received was not true and that he was willing to speak to and settle the issue with the mayor.
“I have no problem with him. He has a problem with me,” Sara said.
She added that while she knew Alvarez she never considered him to be a friend. “We’re not friends so there’s no need to reconcile as friends,” she said. —KARLOS MANLUPIG
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