MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday warned his political opponents not to mess with his equally feisty daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who he said was the one who “maneuvered” the ouster of Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker.
“Be careful with that woman. She can even oust the Speaker. She operated in Davao. Tingnan mo ang nangyari sa Congress, natanggal si…” Duterte said in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
It was the first time the President himself confirmed his daughter's role in the removal of his closest ally in the House of Representatives.
Duterte, who described Alvarez as a “close friend of mine,” said he learned of Sara’s role in Alvarez’s ouster through Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
Alvarez was ousted as Speaker on the day Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo installed to power.
He said Puyat and Sara bumped into each other at the restroom of the Batasang Pambansa during the SONA and the latter admitted her role in the ouster.
“Sinabi daw ni Inday - nagkita sila sa washroom- 'Tell my father, I'm sorry.’ So I did not know the implication of that. Wala akong... honest to God. Si Inday, ‘yon, minaneuver niya," Duterte said, referring to his daughter by her nickname.
(She said Inday told her- they saw each other in the washroom- 'Tell my father, I'm sorry.’ So I did not know the implication of that. I have no... honest to God. It was Inday, she maneuvered it.)
In February, Duterte's daughter slammed Alvarez and called him an "insecure fat sleaze" for allegedly calling her a part of the opposition when she formed a separate regional political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Alvarez, a stalwart of the President's party PDP-Laban, had denied the Davao mayor's allegations, saying somebody might have just misheard him.
Both Sara Duterte and Alvarez are gunning for reelection in the midterm polls: she as Davao City mayor and he as Davao del Norte Representative.