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Duterte daughter’s party grows as PDP factions refuse to unite

14 August 2018

While the two warring factions within the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) have refused to unite, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) regional party organized by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has been gaining members from various political groupings.

HNP signed alliances recently with at least eight national and local political parties led by the Nacionalista Party (NP) at the Blue Leaf Filipinas in Parañaque City.

Duterte-Carpio said HNP is willing to help the embattled PDP-Laban and offering a hand of friendship to all other political parties who support the administration of her father, the President.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio
She stressed, however, that HNP does not intend to recruit members of PDP-Laban or other national political parties. She said that while the HNP has supporters outside Davao, they have been advised to form their own local parties or join other national parties, including the PDP-Laban.

The Nacionalista Party, which supported Duterte’s presidential bid in 2016, is led by the group of Sen. Cynthia Villar and her husband, former Senate president Manuel Villar.

HNP was registered as a regional political grouping, but several major parties including NP and the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) led by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos have formed alliances with it.

While HNP maintains it is a regional party, it has endorsed some senatorial candidates, such as Duterte’s special assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, re-electionist Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito and former Philippine National Police chief Ronald de la Rosa.

Marcos and re-electionist Sen. Cynthia Villar have been seen joining HNP’s events.

Harry Roque Jr., Malacañang spokesman, who is not from the Davao region, recently took his oath as HNP member. Roque is said to have plans to run for senator in 2019.

HNP was officially launched last February by Duterte-Carpio and Governors Tyrone Uy, Claude Bautista, Anthony del Rosario and Nelson Dayanghirang of the provinces of Compostela Valley, Davao Occidental, Davao del Norte and Davao Oriental, respectively, all of Southern Mindanao.

Last July, the Commission on Elections granted the petition of HNP for recognition as a regional political party.

PDP-Laban is the political party of President Duterte. The HNP was formed amid a falling out between Duterte-Carpio and PDP-Laban stalwart Pantaleon Alvarez Jr., at the time the House speaker. Alvarez remains with the PDP-Laban.

Duterte’s special assistant Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said PDP-Laban will not accept new members until the two warring factions patch up their differences.

Interviewed on radio, Go reiterated Duterte’s advice to the leaders of both factions and the other PDP-Laban members to avoid animosity and ensure that unity will prevail, especially as next year’s elections draw near.

Duterte failed to unite the ruling PDP-Laban during a meeting Thursday night, with the party president, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, vehemently refusing any settlement with a rival bloc.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. admitted that PDP-Laban members did not find common ground despite efforts by the President to reconcile the warring factions.

“The President said that the members should talk among themselves and then the President will meet them again in September,” Roque said in an interview on dzRH radio. “Then if they really cannot settle all their issues, they can go their separate ways,” he added.

Duterte, chairman of PDP-Laban, met separately with the group of Pimentel and that of lawyer Rogelio Garcia, the President’s classmate, at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on Thursday night.

The meeting came two weeks after the faction of PDP-Laban led by Garcia held an assembly and elected a new set of officers to replace Pimentel as party president and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary general. The group also elected Go as interim national auditor of the party.

Despite the President’s meddling in the in-fighting of the PDP-Laban members, the feuding factions apparently did not find a common ground.
Go said Duterte would hold another meeting with the two groups “with hopes of having a stronger and united PDP-Laban party.”

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