Sara, Pulong allies form Duterte Coalition

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Hoping to settle the acrimonious Speakership row, lawmakers from Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (HTL) joined forces to form the Duterte Coalition in the House of Representatives.

HNP, a regional political party led by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and HTL-Davao City, a local party led by Rep. Paolo Duterte, merged their forces along with members of the House of Representatives affiliated with them to resolve the speakership row.

In a statement released on Friday, nine representatives who are part of the Duterte Coalition said they “hope to unite the House.”

“As members of the House of Representatives, Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod hope to unite the House. We have created the Duterte Coalition and we wish to invite everyone to join this group of lawmakers who believe in positive change,” they said in a statement.

Among the nine members are Rep. Duterte, HNP’s speakership bet, Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab, Davao City 2nd District Rep. Vincent Garcia, Davao Oriental 1st District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley 1st District Rep. Manuel Zamora, Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan, Dumper Partylist Rep. Claudine Bautista, and Marino Reps. Sandro Gonzales and Anton Lopez.

They said that the coalition will be 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.

They also called on other speakership bets Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano to join their union reminding them that “we shall not serve one interest, we will work for all Filipinos.”

Aside from uniting the House, the Duterte Coalition also reminded the Executive Branch to “draw the line to defend the independence” of the legislative branch of the government.

“It has come to our attention that certain Presidential Cabinet members have their bets for Speaker. Everyone should note 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 Speaker,” the statement read adding that it is only the duly elected members of the House have thje authority to hail the next House chief.

“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.”

The group, however, did not name any candidate who will run for the post despite having Ungab and Paolo, who are both speakership contenders, in the Duterte Coalition.

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