Duterte siblings join forces to ‘unite’ House gripped by Speaker race infighting
MANILA, Philippines — The two local political parties of President Rodrigo Duterte’s children forged on Friday the new “Duterte Coalition” in a bid to “unite” the House of Representatives amid the heated speakership race in the chamber.
In a joint statement, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, Davao 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HMP) and seven other lawmakers said they formed the alliance after some Cabinet members have reportedly chosen their Speaker bet. Davao The HNP was founded by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, a daughter of the President and Paolo’s sister.
In stressing the independence of the Executive and the Legislative branches of government, the coalition noted that Cabinet members serve only on the basis of the trust and confidence of the President and should not participate in the selection of the House Speaker.
“Meanwhile, Congressmen and Congresswomen are elected and serve a mandate with an authority direct from the people. These lawmakers are the only rightful electorate for their leader,” they added.
According to them, the Duterte Coalition is “a strategic partnership of dynamic public servants who are committed to institute governance and development reforms that are necessary for the Philippines to secure its rightful place in the world stage of nations, particularly in the Southeast Asian region.”
The group also extended a partnership call to Speaker contenders Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
In a separate statement, Velasco said he welcomes the formation of the coalition, adding that he is one with the group’s calls and aspirations.
“I am one with the call and aspirations of the newly-formed coalition and implore my fellow lawmakers in Congress to set aside their personal ambitions and agenda and join the Duterte Coalition so together we can build a House of Representatives that is united and stronger, a House that truly represents the people,” he said.
Romualdez also committed to the ideals spelled out by the group, especially the chamber’s freedom to elect its leader.
“Only a unified Congress, with a Speaker chosen freely by its members, can help President Duterte realize his vision of lifting our people out of poverty through sustained economic growth,” he added.
Davao City 2nd District Rep. Vincent Garcia, Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, Compostella Valley Rep. Manuel Zamora, Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista, Dumper Philippines Taxi Drivers Association Rep. Claudine Bautista, and Marino Reps. Sandro Gonzales and Anton Lopez were also named as members of the coalition.
Paolo earlier announced his tentative bid for the speakership even as his father has vowed to resign if he vies for the fourth highest elective post in government. A day after, the HNP announced that it would be fielding Ungab for the position.
The President has so far kept his distance on the speakership battle amid these developments.
House members will elect their next leader at the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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