Presidential son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte has said that he would distance himself from the majority bloc in the House of Representatives after he felt that some of his colleagues questioned his loyalty, presumably to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
This was learned from circulating screenshots of supposed Viber messages sent by Rep. Duterte — one to the National Unity Party (NUP) thread and one to the Viber thread involving all congressmen in the 18th Congress.
“Maraming salamat po for taking care of me dito sa pulitika ng Metro Manila. Sana po hindi niyo i-QUESTION loyalty ko. Kasi ‘yun nalang natitira sa pagkatao ko pagkatapos ako siniraan ng mga kalaban ng tatay ko nung tumakbo siyang Presidente. Maraming Salamat po (Thank you for taking care of me within the politics of Metro Manila. I hope you wouldn’t question my loyalty. That’s all I have after the attacks launched by my father’s foes agaisnt me when he ran for President. Thank you very much),” said “Pulong.”
He continued: “Sorry to say but I have to distance myself napo pati sa ruling majority ng HOR pinahiya at na-question na po loyalty ko. Sa bunganga po ni Cong. Mangudadatu at Congw. Sharon Garin mababalitaan niya po ‘yan mamaya agad (Sorry to say but I have to distance myself even to the ruling majority of the HOR I was shamed and my loyalty was questioned. You will know about that later from the mouths of Cong. Mangudadatu at Congw. Sharon Garin).”
Rep. Duterte was referring to Maguindanao Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu and AAMBIS-OWA party-list Rep. Sharon Garin.
While the screenshots were undated, a source said that Rep. Duterte was referring to events that transpired during the birth anniversary celebration of Velasco last Nov. 9 at the Rizal Park Hotel in Manila. This was mere hours after Velasco was sworn in by no less than President Duterte in Malacañang.
The source said Garin, who was at the same table as Pulong, inadvertently offended him when she made a remark on his recent designation as chairman of the Committee on Accounts — one of the plum posts in the House of Representatives.
A “shouting match” ensued between the two, prompting Mangudadatu to intervene in behalf of the lady lawmaker. But the Davao congressman took Mangudadatu’s gesture the wrong way as well, causing things to “escalate,” the source said.
Rep. Duterte confirmed in his viber message that some sort of commotion did happen, but he gave no specifics as to what or when.
“Yes po nagkagulo sabihin ko na dati at lumuhod po ako humingi ng tawad kay Speaker. Maraming salamat po (Yes there was a commotion…I was on bended knees and asked forgiveness from Speaker. Thank you very much),” he said.Garin is known to be a close ally of Velasco, who represents Marinduque in the 301-member chamber. Mangudadatu, on the other hand, is a friend of the Duterte family.Garin and Mangudadatu neither responded to Rep. Duterte’s Viber posts nor did they answer queries from House reporters.
Rep. Duterte previously refused to support either Velasco or his erstwhile rival, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, during the height of the Speakership skirmish nearly a month ago. He described both Velasco and Cayetano as his friends.
Pulong went as far as resigning from his post as deputy speaker during this phase. But Velasco, in one of his first acts as House head honcho, gave him the coveted Accounts panel chairmanship afterward.
President Duterte and Velasco both belong to Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).