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.