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Sara Duterte joins Lakas-CMD after quitting Hugpong

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Thursday joined the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

She took her oath before Lakas-CMD chairman Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jr., and president House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez at the Revilla Farm in Silang, Cavite at 6 p.m.

This came after Hugpong Ng Pagbabago Secretary General Anthony Del Rosario announced that Mayor Sara has resigned from the regional party.

Romualdez welcomed the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte as the party's new member. He said her focused and strong leadership could steer the nation to greater heights.

"The officials and members of Lakas-CMD are elated to welcome Davao
City Mayor Sara Duterte as new member of our party," Romualdez said in a statement.

"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,” he added.

He said Sara had a proven track record with excellent credentials as local chief executive of Davao City. Romualdez believes that the presidential daughter will be a very promising leader and a tremendous asset to the Lakas-CMD.

"I am confident that with Mayor Sara’s exceptional brand of leadership, she can help our party chart a new course that will ensure a brighter tomorrow for our children and the next generation," Romualdez said.

Asked if Mayor Sara is expected to file a certificate of candidacy (COC) anytime soon, Romualdez said, “I think we have to consult Mayor Sara on that.”

On speculation that Mayor Sara may run in tandem with former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Romualdez replied, "Well, I guess as they say, your guess is as good as mine. Let us not preempt them."

“Let them make the decision and make the announcements at the proper time,” he told reporters.

He revealed that he also invited his cousin Marcos Jr. to join Lakas-CMD. However, Marcos Jr., standard bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, has ruled out the possibility of switching parties. 

Meanwhile, Revilla said he was honored to have Mayor Sara as the latest member of the party. 

“We have worked with Mayor Sara in the past, and in fact continue to be allies in coalition with her former local party - Hugpong ng Pagbabago,” Revilla said in a statement.

Albay Representative Joey Salceda, an ally of Mayor Sara's, earlier disclosed that the mayor would likely run for president under Lakas-CMD.

Sara's spokesperson, Liloan, Cebu Mayor Christina Frasco, had refused to comment about Salceda's recent remarks on the presidential daughter's possible political plans.

Earlier, Lakas-CMD's Prospero Pichay bared that the party was open to having Mayor Sara as a standard bearer of their party. She earlier withdrew her candidacy for Davao mayor. 

Lakas member Anna Capella Velasco had filed a certificate of candidacy for president.

Another party member Lyle Fernando Uy had filed a COC for vice president. 

This means Mayor Sara may choose to substitute either of them if she runs for a national post.

Under the Commission on Elections' calendar for the 2022 polls, substitution for a candidate in a national or local post can be filed from the end of the COC filing period until November 15, 2021. —with a report from Richa Noriega/NB/VBL, GMA News