Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Davao city Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio forged an large alliance a few months before the 2019 elections.
Duterte and Estrada inked the alliance of their parties—the longtime Partido ng Masang Pilipino and the newly formed Hugpong ng Pagbabago—at San Andres Complex in Malate district in Manila on Monday, December 3.
The surprise event resulted in road closures, as previously announced by the Manila Police District.
Duterte appealed to the crowd in her speech to help her HNP form a unified senatorial lineup who will help her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, run the country until the end of his term.
“Nakikiusap, nagrerequest po kami sainyo kung pwede magkaisa tayo para sa ating mga senador, para sa ating President Duterte at para sa ating bayan,” Duterte said.
Some Filipinos observed the Duterte family’s ties with political figures previously tagged in questionable governance.
For Estrada, the event recognized the value of working together for the public interest.
“We both value unity rather than partisanship, service over self-interest. The alliance we are formalizing recognizes our intention to cooperate and unite on behalf of our parties, for the benefit of all those we serve now and in the future,” Estrada said in the speech.
He also hoped that the city of Manila will be as “drug-free” as Davao City.
“I can only hope that one day, soon, Manila can follow in Davao’s footsteps and finally, be drug-free,” Estrada said.
Finding common ground
Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino
It was established in 1991 as a campaign vehicle for Estrada’s presidential campaign in 1998.
When the celebrated actor was elected, he merged PMP with other national parties—the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and the Nationalist People’s Coalition. The newly formed coalition is called “Laban ng Makabayang Masang Pilipino” or LAMMP.
Back then, the PMP boasted its 3.2 million members, several of whom won seats in Congress.
When Estrada was ousted and incarcerated over plunder charges, his wife Loi Estrada and their son Jinggoy were the ones who kept PMP alive.
In 2004, the political party again forged ties with the LDP and PDP-Laban to form Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino to support the presidential campaign of Fernando Poe, Jr.
The number of constituents had also dwindled through the years. Before this recent tie-up with HNP, the PMP was mainly run by Estrada’s relatives.
Hugpong ng Pagbabago
Duterte’s political party, meanwhile, has seen a spectacular growth in membership in recent months after its launching in February as a regional political party. The Commission of Elections approved its registration in July.
On August 14, nine other political parties have signed up to fuse with the HNP. These include the veteran groups of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the Nacionalista Party and the National Unity Party.
Days later, the HNP bared its initial senatorial lineup of only nine names. Some of them were notable members of the ruling party PDP-Laban.
Alongside Estrada’s PMP, the People’s Reform Party of late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago coalesced with Duterte’s regional party on the same day.
Many of the politicians who once identified with PDP-Laban are also now part of the HNP.
As of writing, prominent members of the HNP are Ilocos Gov. Imee Marcos, Estrada and his two sons JV Ejercito and Jinggoy, ex-Palace spokesman Harry Roque and former senator Juan Ponce Enrile.