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Family feud bid foiled

Hananeel Bordey



Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte appealed to members of Congress to free her from intrigues swirling at the House of Representatives after an effort to drive a wedge between her and her father President Rodrigo Duterte who backed a term-sharing deal between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

She dared Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor to name his source in a text message he has shown to reporters claiming Mayor Duterte asked for a conscience vote from House members in defiance of the President’s guidance.

During an appreciation dinner for former Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Manila Tuesday night, Defensor showed reporters a screenshot of a text message which was allegedly received from a neophyte congressman from Davao who was given Sara’s signal to forward the message.

“I call on Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor to stop sowing intrigue and to name the source in his pronouncements to allow people to verify the truth of his claim,” Sara said in a text message.

“Give us the name of the neophyte member of the House of Representatives from whom you received a text message with a supposed message coming from me. A responsible individual would have asked me if there is truth to the text,” she added.

Defensor immediately apologized to Mayor Duterte. “I apologized to Mayor Inday Sara if I have in any way 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. I did say though that there was another person who got the same message. I apologize, Ma’am, if I have offended you,” Defensor said in a statement sent to media.

Defensor said he got the text message from someone who is very close to Mayor Duterte.

Offending text

The text message was received by Defensor after the President endorsed Cayetano as the next Speaker under a deal with Velasco.

The text message read: “Hi sir! I have the go-signal of Mayor Inday to publish. She’s now appealing to all congressmen to vote based on their conscience because her father was only set up by greedy Cabinet members who are allied with Cayetano — Mayor Inday.”

“I reiterate for Rep. Defensor to name his source because I have a reputation to protect and I have the right to confront a person who is spreading disinformation. Otherwise, we can all say that you are your own source,” she added.

Defensor clarified that when he mentioned the congressman in the interview, he was referring to the meeting last Tuesday of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc., (PCFI) led by 1-Pacman partylist Rep. Mikee Romero.

During the PCFI meeting, Defensor said two party-list congressmen insisted the Duterte Coalition led by Mayor Duterte is still inviting them to join their call for unity in the Speakership race.

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab was named candidate of the Duterte Coalition in the Speakership race.

“The mention of the congressman was the meeting we had with the partylist coalition after the President’s announcement. There were two partylist congressmen who discussed the Duterte Coalition’s continued fight and for us to join. I cannot name them as we have agreed on the confidentiality of our discussion,” Defensor said.

“Again, I apologize to the good Mayor Inday Sara. I should not have shown the text with her name. It was wrong of me to drag her name unfairly on this matter,” Defensor said.

HnP reviews option

Mayor Duterte added Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP) will still assess the splitting of the three-year term. In a text message, Sara, who leads the HnP congressmen, said she has yet to meet the members of the regional political party.

“People should know that it was not I who was in a panic hours before the meeting in Malacañang was supposed to happen. In fact, it was Rep. Defensor who reached out to me through Atty. Charo Munsayac. Making last minute requests for Rep. Romualdez to which I said that I will not interfere in that matter,” Sara said.

After the said meeting, the presidential daughter said Defensor reached out again and said “he was trying to light a fire about the term sharing decision that came out of the meeting last Monday” adding that she just “played dumb” to end the conversation.

Sara forwarded a conversation showing her conversation with Munsayac to back her assertion against Defensor.

With Elmer N. Manuel