By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Administration senatorial bet and incumbent Maguindanao Rep. Zajid ‘Dong’ Mangudadatu has accused Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte of removing his image on the stage scenery during last Thursday’s proclamation rally of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) inside the Amoranto Sports Complex.
In an ambush interview in Mandaluyong City, Mangudadatu stressed that the non-inclusion of his picture in the digital billboard seems intented by no less the camp of Belmonte.
“Ang information na nakuha ko, parang sinadya eh. Si Joy Belmonte… ‘Yun ang nahagilap namin na information,” said Mangudadatu.
More than 13,000 supporters flocked to last week’s HNP proclamation rally of attended by senatorial bets being endorsed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
But unlike the party’s previous campaign events, Mangudadatu’s photo was not present at the stage’s digital LED screen, prompting speculations that the Maguindanao solon was ditched from the Davao City mayor’s political entity.
But the presidential daughter was quick to dismiss such speculations and immediately apologized to the camp of Mangudadatu after the event.
Some observers believed that the reason behind the removal of Mangudadatu’s photo in the digital billboard is due to the fact that he endorsed Belmonte’s rival in the mayoralty race, Quezon City Rep. Vincent “Bingbong” Crisologo.
Aside from being a guest candidate of HNP, Mangudadatu is also a member of the ruling administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban)—that endorsed Crisologo’s mayoralty bid.
Mangudadatu has openly endorsed the candidacy of Crisologo, who is also his colleague in the House of Representatives.
For Mangudadatu, the matter of local politics should have been set aside during the event, in respect to HNP’s chairperson, Mayor Duterte.
“Sana irespeto nila ang Chairwoman ng Hugpong ng Pagbabago,” said Mangudadatu.