PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur – Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Thursday admitted that security issues forced her to skip a big rally for her senatorial candidates in Tangub, Misamis Occidental, last Tuesday.
“The PSG (Presidential Security Group) did not allow us to proceed,” said Duterte, who profusely apologized to local officials and supporters who packed the Sinanduloy Cultural Center here to welcome her and the HNP senatorial bets.
The Davao City mayor did not give any detail of what was believed to be a security threat, but admitted that the order not to proceed to Tangub came from the “highest officer of PSG.”
“It’s beyond my control,” she stressed.
The night before, the PSG imposed stricter security measures for the mayor’s father, President Duterte.
In a proclamation rally for PDP-Laban candidates in Malabon City last Monday, the PSG installed a transparent bulletproof glass at the podium where Duterte spoke.
Like his daughter, the Chief Executive explained that while he does not approve of the security set up, he has no control over it.
Aside from claims of threat to the President’s life, Mayor Duterte’s absence in the Tangub sortie fueled speculations that the security issue could be connected to drug trafficking in the area.
It was noted that Tangub lies next to Ozamis City, previously the territory of the Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog who was among the 15 persons killed during a dawn police raid on July 30, 2017. Also killed was Parojinog’s wife, Susan.
Prior to his death, Parojinog was included in the list of politicians involved in illegal drugs.
Mayor Duterte said she and her staff opted to stay in Molave town where she and her fellow riders took breakfast after a two-hour motorcycle ride from Sindangan town, Zamboanga del Norte.
She attended the campaign sortie here but left hurriedly for another event in Cagayan de Oro City.
Another unexpected no-show in the Tangub rally was incumbent Representative Henry Oaminal, who had previously revealed being in the hit list of Mayor Parojinog.
But Dinky Suizo, a candidate for Ozamis City councilor in a lineup headed by Oaminal’s son, Ando, said the Parojinogs and their supporters are no longer capable of carrying out assassination plots against their foes.
“Our police chief is Major Jovie Espenido. He was able to put back peace and order in our city,” said Suizo.
The Tangub incident was the second time the presidential daughter failed to show up in an HNP sortie. She did not attend the Albay sortie late last month as she flew back to Davao City to attend to a family matter.
Duterte is among the crowd favorites in all Hugpong sorties as indicated on how people react whenever she shows up and starts her personal endorsement of the 13-man senatorial ticket of HNP, a regional political organization that has started to take a national political stature.
The day before, Mayor Duterte received a warm welcome as she led the HNP candidates in another well-attended rally hosted by the Jalosjos family, led by Representative Seth Jalosjos in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.
She also graced the Sindangan sortie hosted by former AFP chief of staff, General Alexander Yano, who is running for mayor in the said Zamboanga del Norte town.
On Thursday, the feisty local executive and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco led a team of big bike riders to a 102-kilometer trip here. It is not known, however, if the riders were able to get here.
Hosted by gubernatorial bet Mayor Philip Tan, the Tangub sortie was also attended by HNP bets, re-electionists Senator Cynthia Villar, Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, and JV Ejercito; former senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada; broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad, retired PNP chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa; Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos; Maguindanao Representative Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu, and former presidential political adviser Francis “Tol” Tolentino. (Manila Bulletin)