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Pulong pushed for Congress

This early, resigned Vice Mayor Paolo “Pulong” Duterte has been pushed to run for Congress to represent the first district of the city in next year’s midterm elections.

Mayor Sara Duterte yesterday expressed her full backing to any future political plan of her elder brother who resigned as vice mayor last Christmas.

However, the mayor said any decision will have to be discussed first.

“We have to check if he is willing to (make a) comeback,” Mayor Duterte said adding that they “appreciate” the public calls, especially from the private sector, for the former vice mayor to run anew.

On Friday, Pulong said he will only seek public office in the 2019 elections if Mayor Duterte would allow him to run.

The former vice mayor spoke before barangay officials from the city during the mass oath-taking as members of regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) at the SMX Convention Center Davao, his first public appearance nearly eight months after he resigned from his post on Dec. 25, 2017.

“Time will come when we can serve the public again. I hope Mayor Sara allows me. If she won’t, I can’t go back to public service,” the President’s eldest son said.

In a statement sent out to the media at 6:45 p.m., around two hours after delivering his speech, the former vice mayor said he will go back to public service if the Dabawenyos need him.

“But there are many other ways to serve the Dabawenyos and our dear city — being in politics is just one of them. And if I can serve best through politics, it would be my pleasure to be of service to you and to our city — just like before,” he said.

He did not say what position he would seek if he runs in 2019.

His sister is being eyed by the ruling PDP-Laban party to run for the Senate.

He and his brother-in-law lawyer Manases Carpio were dragged into the smuggling controversy as members of the so-called Davao Group, the group allegedly behind shabu shipment from China that arrived via the Manila International Container in Tondo, Manila in May last year.

The two appeared in a Senate probe on Sept. 7, 2017 where they denied involvement in the smuggling.

“I believe in the principles of HNP and its aspirations to establish a strong and competitive Davao Region resonate significantly with many political leaders,” he said.

The presidential son said he would commit to the HNP’s advocacies and support his father to help fulfill the plans and programs of his administration.

This was the fifth mass oath-taking ceremony held in Davao Region after Compostela Valley on July 19, Davao Oriental on July 1, Davao del Norte on Aug. 3, and Davao Occidental and Davao del Sur on Aug. 6.

The HNP was launched on Feb. 23, 2018 with the presidential daughter as chair, Davao Occidental’ Governor Claude Bautista as president, Davao Oriental’s Governor Nelson Dayanghirang as vice president, Davao del Norte’s Governor Anthony del Rosario as secretary general, and Compostela Valley’s Governor Jayvee Tyron Uy as treasurer.

Aside from the local barangay officials, the gathering was attended by provincial, city, municipal, and barangay officials who pledged allegiance to the HNP. (with Antonio L. Colina IV, MindaNews)

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