Inday Sara denies sending SMS on ‘conscience vote’ in the House

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Wednesday denied sending a text message to lawmakers that urged them to vote for their preferred Speaker of the House of Representatives “according to their conscience” that a party-list congressman said had come from her.

Inday Sara denies sending SMS on ‘conscience vote’ in the House

The regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which Duterte-Carpio heads, said in a statement the message did not come from the influential daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“To all those asking and requesting a statement regarding the supposed text message—well, that did not come from Mayor Inday,” the HNP said in a message sent to reporters.

The Davao mayor’s supposed statement came days after the President’s endorsement of a term-sharing arrangement between Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco in the last three years of the Duterte administration.

Hugpong had earlier endorsed Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as its bet for the speakership. The HNP and Ungab have yet to issue a comment about the President’s decision to endorse Cayetano and Velasco as Speakers.

“We will have one probably next week, nothing yet as of now,” Mylene Garcia-Albano, spokesperson for the HNP, said.

Meanwhile, Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor apologized to Duterte-Carpio for naming her camp as the source of a text message urging lawmakers to exercise a conscience vote during the election of the Speaker on July 22, when the 18th Congress opens.

“I apologized to Mayor Inday Sara if I have in anyway offended her with my statement. I did not say it came from her or a congressman. In fact, I should not have shown it because reading it again it had Inday Sara’s name,” Defensor said.

On Tuesday night, Defensor showed a text message purportedly from someone close to the mayor.

“Hi sir! I have the go signal of Mayor Inday to publish,” the text message read. “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.”

[She is calling on all congressman to vote according to their wishes because her father was only set up by greedy Cabinet men allied with Cayetano.]

The mayor denied the text message came from her and challenged Defensor to name the source of the information.

Elsewhere, former House majority leader Fredenil Castro of Capiz on Wednesday declared his interest in becoming the minority leader in the 18th Congress.

Castro made the announcement after the hotly contested speakership race has apparently been settled with the President announcing a term sharing agreement between Cayetano—who was Foreign Affairs Secretary before gaining a seat in Congress—and Velasco, with Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez being the majority leader.

Castro said some members of the 18th Congress would want him to consider running for the minority leader position “to maintain a credible balance of opinion on all issues that the House maybe called upon to resolve.”

Castro vowed to be a constructive and not a destructive opposition leader under President Duterte.

“I am seriously studying whether I could maintain my balance considering the hairline difference between being a minority member from an opposition,” he said.

Castro served as the House majority leader in the remaining months of the 17th Congress, replacing former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr. who was then named chairman of the House committee on appropriations.

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon chided lawmakers who asked President Duterte to name the next speaker, saying this compromised the independence of the chamber.

“Why do the congressmen ask the President to intervene in their affairs?” he said, noting that the three branches of government are supposed to be co-equal.

“These are people we elected as our leaders. Why are they reneging on their responsibility to use democracy to get the best of the best?” Gordon said, referring to the term-sharing agreement brokered by the President.

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Topics: Sara Duterte-Carpio , House of Representatives , Hugpong ng Pagbabago , Alan Peter Cayetano , Lord Allan Velasco
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