DAVAO CITY – (UPDATED 7:03 P.M.) President Rodrigo Duterte and long-time rival Prospero Nograles, the former Speaker, have buried the hatchet with the latter’s son being inducted into the President’s party and pledging full support for his legislative agenda.
Duterte on Saturday night graced the 41st birthday celebration of Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexie Nograles, underscoring Nograles’ legislative work that made a significant impact on the country.
President Duterte was welcomed by Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho “Koko” Nograles, and the former House Speaker, Atty. “Boy” Nograles.
“I wish my nephew — pagumangkon man ko ni si Karlo Bendigo Nograles — a happy birthday. Daghang salamat ha, sa imong tabang kanako niaging mga panahuna. May this celebration be marked with more blessings and joy,” President Duterte said in his speech.
“Karlo’s strong public advocacies go beyond the interests of the people of Davao City. His proactive legislative work in promoting the welfare of the youth and the workers is making significant impact in the entire country,” he said.
Duterte said that Nograles has his admiration and respect for the work he has done for the country. “I hope you stay by my side as we serve the country and work to make lasting and meaningful changes in the Philippines,” Duterte said.
President Duterte said both he and Nograles are workers of government. “My job: to protect the people and defend the Republic of the Philippines. Period,” he said.
During the event, President Duterte also administered the oath to Nograles as a new member of the PDP.
“So Karlo [is] accepted into the force of the PDP. And we are proud that one of the most powerful congressmen will be a member of this party,” Duterte said.
And, because the President is not so fluent in reading in Filipino, the young Nograles proceeded to read his oath as party member without waiting for Duterte to read it to him.
Before joining the President’s party, the young Nograles was a member of Lakas CMD.
Meanwhile, Duterte quipped that the congressman might in the future become a president.
DIGONG, BOY NOGRALES MEND FENCES
Karlo’s father, meanwhile, sought forgiveness from Duterte for their past animosities.
He said the entire Nograles family will defend and stand by the President from his adversaries from now on.
The former Speaker said his rivalry with Duterte was limited to the political level, and never degenerated to personal grudges, especially since he and the President are actually relatives.
Also gracing the event was Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos.
The President, in an interview, said there is no need for Nograles to apologize.
“Hindi naman kailangan ‘yan because actually, ano lang ‘yan, ‘yung… magkalaban kami sa pulitika but eventually sinuportahan niya ako kasi it was to the best interest of Davao (That’s not really needed because actually, that is only… we were political opponents but eventually he supported me because it was to be the best interest of Davao),” he told reporters when asked for his reaction.
RIVALRY BEGAN 1992
Their rivalry started in 1992 during the Davao mayoral elections when both traded barbs against each other. Duterte was then running for second term as mayor and Nograles was trying his hand for the mayoral post. Nograles was defeated by Duterte.
When both sought the first congressional district in 2001, Duterte defeated Nograles.
In 2010, Nograles returned to the mayoral arena against then vice mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and lost to the young Duterte.
When Duterte ran for president last year, Rep. Karlo backed the elder Duterte. Karlo is Duterte’s nephew because his mother is a cousin of the President.
Karlo took the opportunity to take an oath before the President because he could not attend the mass oath-taking of incoming PDP members on September 8 in Davao due to the scheduled budget hearings.
Karlo, who was a member of the Lakas-CMD, is the current chairman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations.
He decided to join PDP in support of Duterte and to give in to the invitations of other party members.