Did Sara Duterte’s Hugpong deliver? Yes and no
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — It was deemed a superparty.
And true to expectations, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founded by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte played a crucial role in the election campaign and produced the overwhelming victory of President Rodrigo Duterte’s senatorial candidates.
The provinces of Davao City and Davao del Sur delivered 12-0 in favor of the candidates of HNP and PDP-Laban led by Bong Go and former Philippine National Police chief Bato dela Rosa. Only former journalist Jiggy Manicad lost among the superparty’s 13-member team.
HNP is now basking in the victory of its senatorial candidates and of the Duterte children and allies in Davao City.
But it suffered a debacle in the local elections, with its endorsed candidates losing in Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur, which are largely considered an extension of the Dutertes’ turf and whose leaders were, along with Sara Duterte, among the founding members of HNP.
Political powerhouses in the Davao region whom many thought were indestructible—Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo in Davao del Norte’s second district and the Del Rosarios in Davao del Norte—crumbled in the face of the group led by another Duterte ally, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
In Davao City, Sara Duterte won reelection with a partial 570,731 votes against the 4,192 votes of her independent opponent, Jun Marcellones.
Her brother Sebastian Duterte, also from HNP, will make his political debut as vice mayor, having run unopposed with 548,729 votes.
Another brother, Paolo Duterte, who ran under their father’s local party Hugpong ng Tawong Lungsod, also won by a huge margin against two independent candidates as representative of Davao’s first district.
The unopposed candidates in Davao City’s second and third districts — Vincent Garcia and Isidro Ungab, respectively—ran under HNP.
In Compostela Valley, HNP’s Jayvee Uy for governor and Maricar Zamora for vice governor also ran unopposed. The leading candidate for first-district representative, Way Kurat Zamora, is with HNP, while the unopposed candidate for second-district representative, Ruwel Gonzaga, is with PDP-Laban.
In Davao Occidental, brothers Claude and Franklin Bautista ran unopposed under HNP for governor and vice governor. The candidate for the lone-district representative, Lorna Bandigan, is from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
In Davao Oriental, Nelson Dayanghirang, candidate for governor, and Niño Uy, candidate for vice governor, ran unopposed. Both are listed as NP (Nacionalista Party), but Dayanghirang has expressed loyalty to HNP. Cora Malanyaon of the first district is from NP while Joel Almario of the second district is with PDP. Both also ran unopposed.
But HNP lost steam in Davao del Sur, where the Cagas family (NP) dominated the governor, vice governor and Congress.
HNP candidates were also dealt defeat by PDP candidates in Davao del Norte led by former Speaker Alvarez. The post of governor was won by Edwin Jubahib, and of the vice governor, by Rey Uy.
Alvarez was reelected as first-district representative, beating outgoing Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony del Rosario of HNP. The second district was captured by Aldu Dujali, an Alvarez ally, beating HNP’s Floirendo.
The victory of Alvarez, Dujali and Jubahib ended the rule of two of the most powerful political clans in Davao — the Del Rosarios and the Floirendos.
The Del Rosarios lorded it over the province’s first legislative district, with the elder and younger Del Rosario taking turns in local positions of power: The family’s patriarch, Rodolfo del Rosario, served for five terms as Davao del Norte governor (1998-2001, 2001-2004, 2007-2010, 2010-2013, and 2013-2016); his son Anthony served as governor in 2016-2019 and was representative of the first district for two terms, from 2010 to 2016.
Floirendo, whose family owns Tagum Agricultural Development Corp. (Tadeco), one of the world’s largest banana producers, represented Davao del Norte’s second district for four terms (1998-2007 and 2016-2019).
Another scion of the clan, Antonio Floirendo Lagdameo Jr., served for three terms as congressman in the same district in 2007-2010, 2010-2013, and 2013-2016.
In sum, HNP won three of five gubernatorial posts in the Davao Region, two of five vice gubernatorial posts, and one of eight congressional posts in the five provinces of the region.
Led by Sara Duterte, HNP had its first general assembly in February 2018, which was attended by at least 500 public officials including governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, vice mayors and councilors.
HNP, as a regional party, forged a unity for big political leaders in Davao City and the provinces of Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.
Sara Duterte was elected as its chair, with Davao Occidental Gov. Claude Bautista as president, Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang as vice president, Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony Del Rosario as secretary general, and Compostela Valley Gov. Jayvee Tyron Uy as treasurer.
As a regional structure, HNP started a massive three-month campaign that brought it across the country starting from Luzon, the islands of the Visayas, and ended in Davao City.
The campaign rallies, 73 in all, focused on promoting not only the administration’s senatorial candidates, but also party list groups and local politicians at each stop.
The regional party also forged and signed alliances with other local parties, creating a semi-informal but effective political machinery.
But the postelection question now is: What’s next for HNP and its chair Sara Duterte? —With reports from Mart Sambalud and Orlando Dinoy
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