Sara thumps Defensor’s text messaging claims, solon apologizes

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio (File Photo)

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is not letting any intrigues get in the mix of the already convoluted House Speakership issue.

After reports reached her of Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor showing to reporters a text message allegedly coming from her urging congressmen to vote whoever they like for House Speaker despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, the presidential daughter immediately released a statement on Wednesday denying the rumors–the latest of a long drawn out battle for the Speakership.

“I call on Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor to stop sowing intrigue and to name the source in his pronouncements to allow people to verify the truth of his claim,” Mayor Sara said in the statement.

The text message said Sara allegedly wanted congressmen to vote according to their desire because her father was only “set up by greedy Cabinet members” allied with Cayetano to choose him.

“Give us the name of the neophyte member of the House of Representatives from whom you received a text message with a supposed message coming from me. A responsible individual would have asked me if there is truth to the text,” Mayor Sara dared.

In a speech during the oath-taking of newly appointed officials in Malacañang Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Cayetano is his bet for Speaker, a position he will share with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco while another aspirant Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would be the Majority Leader.

Mayor Sara was earlier reported to have endorsed Velasco.

“People should know that it was not I who was in a panic hours before the meeting in Malacañan was supposed to happen. In fact, it was Rep. Defensor who reached out to me thru Atty. Charo Munsayac. Making last minute requests for Rep. Romualdez to which I said that I will not interfere in that matter,” Mayor Sara said.

Mayor Sara revealed that after the Malacañang meeting, “Rep. Defensor reached out again and I recognized that he was trying to light a fire about the term sharing decision that came out of the meeting last Monday.”

To end the conversation, the lady chief executive said she just “played dumb.”

As proof, Mayor Sara attached the screencap of her conversation with Atty. Munsayac. “Should I have anything to say about what happened on July 8, I will not cowardly hide behind an alleged “panawagan.” I reiterate for Rep. Defensor to name his source because I have a reputation to protect and I have the right to confront a person who is spreading disinformation. Otherwise, we can all say that you are your own source,” she said.

Reacting to Mayor Sara’s statement, Defensor was quick to issue an apology.

“I apologize to Mayor Inday Sara if I have in anyway offended her with my statement,” Defensor said in a statement also on Wednesday. “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 apologise Ma’am if I have offended you.”

Defensor said the text message was relayed to him by “newcomers” to Congress.

The partylist lawmaker also admitted that he had been contacting Mayor Sara through her friend, Atty. Charo Munsayac, following the turn of events on the speakership. “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,” he said.

House members will formally elect the next Speaker during the opening of the session of the 18th Congress on the morning of July 22, the same day that President Duterte is set to deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA).