Setbacks mar Duterte supporters’ rally

Diana Lhyd Suelto - The Philippine Star
Setbacks mar Duterte supporters� rally
Former president Rodrigo Duterte Presidential.
Photo / Roemari Lismonero

MANILA, Philippines — As former president Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters prepared for a rally in Davao last night, rumors of a military pullout from the venue circulated, a power interruption occurred and the airport was temporarily closed.

The Hakbang ng Maisug prayer rally was the third rally organized by Duterte’s supporters against the proposed Charter change.

It was held at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City.

Hours before the event, there were rumors on social media that Presidential Assistant for Eastern Mindanao Leo Tereso Magno had ordered the pullout of military personnel from the rally’s venue.

Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Allan Hambala denied being ordered by Magno to pull out his troops.

He said it was his decision to reposition troops.

“My men are not supposed to be in the immediate vicinity of the rally,” Hambala said.

Duterte supporters claimed the power interruption in Tagum City was an attempt to sabotage the event.

At around 11:30 a.m., the Northern Davao Electric Cooperative announced an unscheduled power interruption due to a National Grid and Power Corp. (NGCP) line that tripped off, affecting Tagum City and a portion of Maco town.

While the NGCP has restored power transmission services to these areas before the rally started, it has yet to provide a reason for the power interruption.

Duterte supporters also claimed that the Davao International Airport (DIA)’s scheduled maintenance was a sabotage attempt.

The airport’s general manager clarified that the 4-hour airport closure that started on April 8 is part of its scheduled maintenance.

“We are closing the runway for a few hours each day to facilitate runway repairs,” DIA general manager Rex Obecena told The STAR.

“There are portions of the runway that need preventive maintenance to repair minor wear and tear,” he added.

Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez earlier alleged that the reason Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib was suspended was due to his refusal to stop the rally from being held in Tagum City.

Alvarez claimed that two emissaries were sent by Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo to Jubahib to talk him out of hosting the rally in Davao del Norte.

Lagdameo even requested an audience with Jubahib but the governor did not meet with him, he said.

“Come hell or high water, the rally in Davao del Norte will continue,”

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