Roque, others take oath as Hugpong ng Pagbabago members
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque took his oath as a member of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional political party founded by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, on Monday in Davao Occidental.
Other national figures who joined in the mass oath-taking in a gymnasium in Malita town and which was administered by Duterte-Carpio were Senator JV Ejercito, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, and Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa.
"Well, I took the oath earlier. Well, I am the presidential spokesperson and the President (Rodrigo Duterte) has said Hugpong is his party. It's only right I join his party," said Roque, who has been consistent in refusing to confirm if he would be running for the Senate in the 2019 elections.
He said his joining with HNP was without prejudice to the alliances that it may enter into including with Partido Demokratiko Pilipino?Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
"So that's not really an impossibility because right now the registration of Hugpong is as a regional party but a matter of course, as a presidential spokesperson I need to join the party of the President as well as he is also the chairman of PDP, so I should also be there. But first and foremost, when I asked him, he said Hugpong has always been his party," he said.
Duterte-Carpio recently registered HNP as a regional party at the Commission on Elections.
When she was still forming it, along with the other local officials in Davao region, then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez accused her of being an opposition since Duterte's political party was PDP-Laban.
This, as well as Alvarez's other statements in February, such as his capability to impeach Duterte because he was the speaker, irked Duterte-Carpio, prompting her to call the Davao del Norte congressman as an "asshole" and for his ouster as the House leader. During that time, Alvarez said he was just misquoted as he refused to further pick a fight with the presidential daughter.
Alvarez, however, was finally ousted as a Speaker on July 23 at the opening of the congressional session. Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replaced him.
Duterte-Carpio was allegedly one of those behind Alvarez's ouster and discreetly campaigned for Arroyo's installment as the new Speaker. Celerina Monte/DMS