Davao City—Mayor Sara Duterte on Friday denied allegations that most of the members of the PDP-Laban have transferred to the regional party she organized, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
“HNP is a region XI political party. HNP was not made to go on a national level. We just wanted to create a strong region XI. We did not forsee this growing interest of other politicians from other regions,” Duterte said.
She said that she has no intention to make the party national at the moment.
“Even the other officers are not keen on deciding on this. But we are set to create alliances with other groups to help each other. I do not have the list with me. There are no talks with national parties, only local parties,” she added.
In February, the mayor and four governors from Davao Oriental, Occidental, del Norte and Compostela Valley Province launched the HNP.
Governors Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental, Anthony del Rosario of Davao del Norte and Tyrone Uy of Compostela Valley province all said that they all left their national parties and pledge allegiance to HNP.
“We are all members of the local party in our different provinces, but we agreed that if we run, we will run under HNP,” Duterte said during the launching of HNP.
In the Davao region, only Gov. Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur is not an HNP member.
The head of the Visayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Friday laughed off speculation of an impending exodus of PDP-Laban members, most of them congressmen, from President’s political party.
Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, head of the bloc and a ranking PDP-Laban leader in the House of Representatives, also denied he will lead fellow PDP-Laban congressmen in abandoning the party.
He said leaving the President’s PDP is tantamount to “political suicide.”
“It will be politically unwise to let go out of PDP-Laban party as it has established a formidable network of leaders from the grassroots to the national level,” Benitez said.
Benitez made the statement as Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. claimed that disenchantment in the party leadership may prompt PDP members to jump ship.
Andaya also said earlier raised the possibility that Arroyo’s then political party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, will be the new vehicle of resigning party members.
Andaya said Lakas-CMD, a political party founded by current Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, will likely forge an alliance with HNP.
But Benitez described Andaya’s statement as “incredulous.” He said Duterte-Carpio’s father is no less than President Duterte who heads PDP as party chairman.
“I see no reason why the President will abandon the party,” Benitez, chairman of the House committee on housing and urban development, said.
“I definitely feel it will be counterproductive to the administration as well as to their allies to make such ill-advised decision,” he added.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said the reports on a PDP exodus were expected, saying such would be the “necessary consequence” in the change in the House leadership.
“Being as a veteran politician I can almost presume, I can almost surmise that jumping ship will be the natural occurrence,” said Umali, who has earned the reputation of siding with whoever is in power.
Umali said the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez may trigger “mass disenchantment” in some PDP members.
Meanwhile, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said the bid by some rogue members of the party to oust him provided comic relieve on a Friday with heavy traffic.
He said he was sad that some “rogue members” of the PDP-Laban were sowing chaos.
“They just wasted their expenses. They could have just used [the moiney] to help the fire victims in Sulu,” he said.
Ronnie Munsayac, PDP-Laban information committee officer, said the rogue members would be dealt with in accordance with party rules.
“We have already expelled some of them and after a thorough investigation will expel a few more,” he said.
He said there is no need to expel the others because they aren’t legitimate party members.
“There’s a process to becoming a party member, and many of them did not complete the process,” he said in Filipino.
He said anyone with doubts about the leadership of the party can check with the Commission of Elections.
Some members of PDP-Laban; claiming to be “genuine party members,” on Friday elected their new leaders that included Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go.
Rogelio Garcia was elected president; Abbin Dalhani, executive vice president; Willy Talag, secretary general, and Go, auditor.
On a possible exodus, Pimentel said those who wanted to leave the party were free to do so. He added there was no need for a loyalty check among members.
He also said the gathering at Amoranto Stadium to elect new leader was not officially sanctioned by the PDP-Laban and described the rogue members as usurpers.