DAVAO CITY—The Hugpong ng Pagbabago, a regional party chaired by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio was officially launched Friday with support from four Davao governors.
The HNP, the mayor said, will serve as the official party of the Davao region and members will run under the HNP banner in 2019.
“We are all members of the local party in our different provinces, but we agreed that if we run, we will run under HNP,” the mayor, President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, said.
Compostela Valley Gov. Tyrone Uy said there would be no conflict with his national party, the ruling PDP-Laban, because he had resigned from it Friday to focus on the HNP.
Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental said he would “seek permission” to leave the Liberal Party to focus on the regional party. Gov. Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental said he would be considered resigned from the Nationalist People’s Coalition once he runs next year under HNP.
Gov. Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte had already resigned from the Liberal Party last year, and said he intends to run under HNP.
In the Davao region, only Gov. Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur is not a HNP member. The mayor said they would talk to Cagas after the party convention.
At the moment, HNP has 500 members, including mayors, board members and other local officials in the region.
“After we register the HNP with the Comelec, anyone who wishes to join HNP can join,” the mayor said.
She only laughed, however, when asked if House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who she had attacked over his remarks about the HNP, could also join.
In the face of a blistering attack by the mayor, who called him an asshole, Alvarez backed down on Friday, and refused to comment on their spat.
“No comment na ako d’yan. Surrender,” Alvarez told reporters in Butuan City.
The Commission on Elections said if HNP seeks accreditation as a political party, its members would have to leave their current parties.
But Duterte-Carpio said there would be no issue should members remain with their existing parties since the alliance is a regional party.
She also emphasized that HNP was not established to compete with Alvarez, secretary-general of the ruling PDP-Laban, which the President chairs.
“The HNP is for the betterment of the Davao region. This was not created to go against the slate of Alvarez,” Duterte-Carpio said.
She also denied rumors about presidential ambitions, saying she would either seek reelection as Davao mayor or run for Congress.