Sara Duterte: President Duterte better off without Alvarez

Duterte-Carpio said in a statement that HNP, to be launched on Friday, February 23, has the blessing of her father.

"I would like everyone to know, including the Speaker of the House, that the unity I forged with the 4 governors of Region XI has the blessings of President Rodrigo Duterte. Even the use of the word Hugpong as the name of our regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago has the President's approval," said the HNP chairperson.

In Panabo City on Thursday, Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr said his colleagues from the district's executive branch would attend the HNP launch.

Floirendo said he would support Duterte-Carpio's party.

The lawmaker was expelled from PDP-Laban in October last year, after he was accused of "disloyalty" to the party and its leaders, and organizing and participating in an unathorized and unsanctioned party convention, the National Gathering of Regional Presidents in Davao City.

Prior to his expulsion, Floirendo got into a very public word war with Alvarez reportedly sparked by a spat between their girlfriends. Alvarez later filed a graft complaint against Floirendo over the alleged anomalous deal between the government and Floirendo's company, the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco). On Wednesday, February 21, the Sandiganbayan issued an arrest warrant against Floirendo, who posted bail the same day.

The tension within the President's circle of allies had been simmering since last year, when around 200 PDP-Laban members from the Mindanao bloc defected from the ruling party and said they would declare themselves independent from the PDP-Laban national council.

This was followed by Alvarez's declaration as "persona non grata" in Tagum City. – with a report from Bea Cupin / Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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