Philippines: Sara’s Hugpong backs compromise candidate

  • Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on 3 Jul 19 offered a compromise candidate for speaker of the House of Representatives in an obvious attempt to end the bitter quarrel among administration allies over the coveted post.
  • “We understand if President Duterte, because of delicadeza, will not accept the intent of our brother from Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Hugpong’s local affiliate), Congressman Paolo Duterte, to resolve the conflict among candidates. Therefore, we are endorsing the bid of Congressman Isidro Ungab for speaker,” Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party founded by Carpio in 2018, said.
  • HNP proposed that the three active pursuers of the speakership accept leadership posts.
  • In a statement, Ungab said he was “deeply honored” by the endorsement of Carpio’s regional party.
  • Romualdez said he respects HNP’s endorsement of Ungab. “However, we will await the President’s final say on the matter. Going back to the President’s last statement on 27 Jun 19, he maintained his neutrality in the speakership race.” he said.
  • There were no comments from Velasco and Cayetano, who have been wrangling over a supposed term-sharing allegedly approved by the President.
  • Judging from the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker and the election of his successor, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in Jul 18, Carpio’s word carries much weight.
  • Carpio’s party endorsed Ungab a day after the President’s son, Rep. Paolo, threatened to join the speakership race “to help unite” the House amid the divisive fight among aspirants for the position.
  • 3 Jul 19’s HNP statement, which referred to Rep. Paolo as “our brother,” apparently had the President’s son’s blessing. His threat to join the speakership race was seen more as an expression of frustration over the speakership brawl than a serious desire to seek the position.
  • Other administration allies expressed readiness to support Ungab as HNP’s compromise candidate. Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., said Carpio’s offer could be the “bulong” (whisper) that all House members are waiting for from the President.
  • Hours after Carpio’s HNP endorsed Ungab on 3 Jul 19, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel lll, who heads PDP-Laban, indicated in a statement that Velasco is open to sharing the speaker’s three-year term provided he holds the position first.
  • Velasco had earlier rejected the term-sharing idea, which Cayetano claimed he had agreed with during the President’s recent visit to Japan.

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