After bolting from Hugpong, Sara Duterte joins Lakas-CMD

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio became a member of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Lakas-CMD party just hours after she resigned from her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Duterte-Carpio took her oath as Lakas-CMD member at 6 p.m. before House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (Leyte) — party president — and in the presence of party Sen. Bong Revilla, the party's chairman, at the latter’s farm in Silang, Cavite.

"We had long been inviting Mayor Inday to join our party as we are all impressed with her sterling qualities as a leader and we saw up close her exemplary work ethic as chief executive of Davao City," Romualdez said in a statement shortly after Duterte-Carpio took her oath.

Duterte-Carpio's change in parties came just days before the Commission on Elections' deadline for the substitution of candidates on November 15.

Lakas-CMD fielded a certain Anna Capella Velasco for president, but party secretary-general Propsero Pichay told ABS-CBN News said in response to a question on whether Velasco is just a placeholder that she was.  Pichay later walked back this statement.

Several presidential aspirants, including Sen. Bato dela Rosa of the ruling PDP-Laban, have signalled that they are willing to give way to President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter should she vie for the presidency.

Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., an ally of the Dutertes who is also in the race to Malacañang, said that he will "examine [his] situation" following the recent developments involving the Davao City mayor.

"I have nowhere else to go. I cannot go anywhere. I will not change parties. I entered this race not to play any of these substitution or play with the rules. I entered this race with thoughts that I should run for president. That’s what I’m doing," Marcos told reporters.

Should she eventually run for president by substituting for another aspirant, Duterte-Carpio would essentially be repeating the same tactic her father did in 2015 when he ran for president by substituting for his partymate Martin Diño. — with a report from Kristine Joy Patag

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