Rep. Defensor Apologizes To Sara Duterte

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor apologized to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for his actions that have “unfairly” dragged her name over a controversial text message, urging lawmakers to exercise conscience vote in the election for 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 sent to media.

The party-list lawmaker was referring to a text message he received along with other congressmen, which he showed to media.

In an interview at the sidelines of a farewell dinner by members of the recently concluded 17th Congress in honor of former Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Tuesday night at the Manila Hotel, Defensor said he got the text message from someone who is very close to Mayor Sara.

The text message was received by Defensor after President Rodrigo Duterte endorsed Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as the next Speaker under a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

In the course of the interview, 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 neophyte 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 Rep. 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 Rep. 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. (PNA)