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Hindi invited? Koko no show in Hugpong victory party

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was conspicuous by his absence in Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) victory party in Makati City.

Pimentel was the only Hugpong-backed winning senator who was not present during its thanksgiving dinner held at the Rigodon Hall of the Manila Peninsula Hotel which was graced by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Senators-elect Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, Imee Marcos, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., and re-elected Sens. Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, and Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara joined the party.

Pimentel is reportedly out of the country according to one of his staff who requested anonymity.

It’s still unclear whether or not the former Senate President was invited in the event following earlier reports that the influential regional party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte allegedly ditched Pimentel from their 13-man line-up on the eve of the May 13 midterms polls.

The HNP secretariat has yet to comment on whether or not they have sent formal invitation to Pimentel.

Pimentel, president of the ruling party PDP Laban is a confidante of former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, Mayor Duterte’s political nemesis.

In April, the core group of Hugpong in Davao Region reportedly dropped Pimentel from the list of senatoriables to be supported by Mayor Duterte’s party in Region 10 upon the request of now outgoing Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tony Boy” Floirendo and his cousin, party secretary-general and outgoing provincial Gov. Anthony del Rosario.

Meantime, the camp of Pimentel clarified that he was invited to the Hugpong victory bash.

Pimentel’s aide Ronwald Munsayac posted the screenshot of the supposed invitation by the HNP secretariat for his boss on his Twitter account following speculations over the former Senate President’s non-appearance during the said event.

Pimentel was the only Hugpong-backed winning senator who was not present during its thanksgiving dinner held at the Rigodon Hall of the Manila Peninsula Hotel which was graced by President Rodrigo Duterte. He was also absent at the oath taking of the Hugpong senators at the Palace last Tuesday.

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