‘Not mine,’ Sara Duterte says of text urging Cayetano’s rejection
MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio denied Tuesday night that she was behind a text message circulating among lawmakers asking them to reject Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as the next House Speaker.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor confirmed receiving a text message Monday night from a neophyte House member from Davao whom he refused to name. He said the sender was “very close” to the Mayor Duterte, daughter of the President.
Defensor even showed the message to media which stated: “Hi sir! I have the go signal of Mayor Inday to publish. ‘Kaya nanawagan siya ngayon sa lahat ng mga Congressmen na bumoto ayon sa kanilang kagustuhan dahil ang kanya ama ay na set-up lamang ng mga gahaman na gabinete na kaalyado ni Cayetano.’ — Mayor Inday.”
[Hi sir! I have the go signal of Mayor Inday to publish. She’s now calling on all Congressmen to vote according to their preference because her father was only set up by eager Cabinet members who are allies of Cayetano — Mayor Inday.]
Defensor said that, during the meeting of the House party-list coalition earlier Tuesday afternoon, the same lawmaker was rallying for the bet of the newly formed Duterte Coalition of Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab, as well as the group’s anti-term sharing stance.
He also said some of his colleagues received the same message.
“We were just confirming that we got the same text messages,” Defensor said in an interview on the sidelines of an appreciation dinner at the Manila Hotel for outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“I believe it’s decided [the speakership issue], but the reality is there are still movements. So we don’t know,” the returning House member added.
Sought for comment, the Davao City mayor categorically denied she was behind the text message.
“Not mine and not true,” she told INQUIRER.net in a Viber message.
“Kung manawagan ako, sasabihin ko kung sino ang suportahan at hindi basehan sa kagustuhan lang ng botante. Wala po ma-achieve ang ganyan na panawagan na walang objective. Hanapin niyo ang hindi masaya sa term sharing na Congressmen malamang galing sa kanila yan,” she added.
[If I’m going to make a call, I will say I will specify who to support and the preference of the voters will not be a basis. Nothing can be achieved with a call that has no objective. Look for whoever is not happy with term sharing among Congressmen. Most likely, it came from him or her.]
The presidential daughter said she was being name-dropped as the source of the text for the texter “to gain support for whatever he/she is trying to do.”
President supports Cayetano
On Monday night, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano would be the next House Speaker, sharing the term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Cayetano will serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress before he would be succeeded by Velasco who would serve for the next 21 months.
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who is also eyeing the post will be the majority floor leader.
Sara, the chairperson of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), earlier rejected the proposed term-sharing of House Speaker, citing that it would only be “counterproductive” and may “slow down” the remaining three years of the Duterte administration.
“In a term-sharing situation,” she said, “the House of Representatives will be racked with unseating the incumbent Speaker, deceit, dissent, and distrust.
So what is now the position of HNP on term-sharing?
“We have not yet come to that. Everybody is busy. We have not met to talk about what happened yesterday,” she said.
Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, who earlier expressed his desire to run for Speaker, eventually backed out after consulting his father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
He said he would instead support the candidacy of Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, a longtime Duterte ally, as the next Speaker.
He said his local political party, Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, like its “sister” party HNP, had already chosen to support Ungab.
Paolo and Ungab have also formed the Duterte Coalition, a group of Mindanao-based lawmakers who want to influence the race for the speakership in the 300-member chamber.
The group has rejected the term-sharing proposal.
“With term sharing, the Duterte Coalition where 3 HNP Congressmen is a part of, already released a statement on that. As of this minute, mukha wala pa nagbago,” he said.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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