MANILA – Philippine lawmaker Mike Defensor on Wednesday (July 10) apologised to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for “unfairly” dragging her name over a controversial text message that urged lawmakers to defy Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement for the post of Speaker.
“I apologized to Mayor Inday Sara if I have in any way 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. I did say though that there was another person who got the same message. I apologize, Ma’am, if I have offended you,” Defensor said in a statement.
The Anakalusugan party-list representative was referring to a text message he received along with other congressmen, which he showed to media.
At the sidelines of a farewell Congress dinner in honor of former Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Tuesday night at the Manila Hotel, Defensor said he received the text message from someone very close to Mayor Sara.
Defensor received the SMS after Duterte endorsed Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as the next Speaker under a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque representative Lord Allan Velasco.
Defensor showed the text message to media, which read: “Hi sir! I have the go-signal of Mayor Inday to publish. ‘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’s now appealing to all congressmen to vote their conscience because her father was only set up by greedy Cabinet members who are allied with Cayetano– Mayor Inday).”
Mayor Sara Duterte vehemently denied that the text message came from her and challenged Defensor to name the party-list lawmaker who allegedly sent him the text message.
However, Defensor clarified that when he mentioned the congressman in the interview, he was referring to the meeting last Tuesday of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., (PCFI) led by 1-Pacman party-list Representative Mikee Romero.
During the PCFI meeting, Defensor said two party-list congressmen insisted that the Duterte Coalition led by Mayor Sara is still inviting them to join their call for unity in the Speakership race.
Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab was named candidate of the Duterte Coalition in the Speakership race.
“The mention of the congressman was the meeting we had with the party-list coalition after the President’s announcement. There were two party-list congressmen who discussed the Duterte Coalition’s continued fight and for us to join. I cannot name them as we have agreed on the confidentiality of our discussion,” Defensor said.
“Again, I apologize to the good Mayor Inday Sara. I should not have shown the text with her name. It was wrong of me to drag her name unfairly on this matter,” Defensor said. ICA/Expat Media/PNA
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