THE National Unity Party (NUP) has upped its chances of becoming the ruling political bloc at the House of Representatives as its members increased after it “adopted” President Rodrigo Duterte’s son, its chairman said.
In a press briefing on Monday, Antipolo Rep. Ronaldo Puno and deputy secretary general Brian Yamsuan said that the party now had 50 members, 43 of who were district congressmen, including Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, and seven partylist representatives.
Puno said 12 congressmen from the 84-strong Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) have joined the NUP, Puno told reporters.
“We have earned a reputation and [we] are proud of our reputation as a party with closed-knit members with shared principles ad common goals,” said Puno.
As of posting time, the PDP-Laban remains the ruling House bloc, followed by the Nacionalista Party (NP) with at least 44 members. The NUP, so far, stands as the third largest bloc, consisting of members from local and national parties.
In a bid to downplay its growing alliance, Puno said the group did not intend to go beyond its current number, despite Rep. Duterte’s influence.
Sources previously named San Jose del Monte City Rep. Rida Robles, Parañaque City Rep. Joy Myra Tambunting, Marino Partylist Rep. Carlo Gonzales, and ACT-CIS Partylist Reps. Eric Go Yap, Nina Taduran and Jocelyn Tulfo as new members of the NUP.
When asked for whether the young Duterte could become president of the NUP, Yamsuan said the party would review its rules and proceedings on his qualification.
“[Since he is only] an adopted member, we will review our by-laws…I don’t know if it’s not allowed. My position is, as much as possible, we would like Rep. Duterte to take a position in the NUP,” Puno said.
“We just casually talked on the floor [amid session], we invited him to the partylist meeting last night and he said that he liked the camaraderie here,” Yamsuan said in a mix of English and Filipino.
He also said that lawmakers have started warming up to the Davao lawmaker since he joined the party.
“He said, ‘sige, i-adopt niyo ako’ (sure, adopt me) and we adhered to that. We made him member of the NUP. Congressmen start to see that he is actually okay,” Yamsuan said.
Rep. Duterte currently heads the Davao City-based Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, the local political party considered as a precursor of the regional party of his sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Last 2018, the NUP, the Nacionalista Party and the National People’s Coalition signed an alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago for the 2019 elections. GLEE JALEA