DAVAO CITY — Former House of Representatives Speaker Prospero Nograles apologized to his longtime political nemesis President Rodrigo Duterte for past differences.
In front of more than 1,000 political leaders and supporters of Nograles during the birthday celebration of Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles at Mergrande Resort on Saturday night, the former House speaker even vowed to back the President and to be loyal to the Duterte family.
He said Duterte is from Davao and the only president coming from Mindanao.
“I apologize publicly for whatever heartaches we have had,” the elder Nograles said in his short message as he welcomed and thanked the President for gracing his son’s birthday celebration.
The elder Nograles even vowed that the Nograleses “will defend him (Duterte) go against his enemies,” the elder Nograles said.
But the President, in an interview, said there is no need for Nograles to apologize.
“Hindi naman kailangan ‘yan because actually, ano lang ‘yan, ‘yung… magkalaban kami sa pulitika but eventually sinuportahan niya ako kasi it was to the best interest of Davao (That’s not really needed because actually, that is only… we were political opponents but eventually he supported me because it was to be the best interest of Davao),” he told reporters when asked for his reaction.
Their rivalry started in 1992 during the Davao mayoral elections when both traded barbs against each other. Duterte was then running for second term as mayor and Nograles was trying his hand for the mayoral post. Nograles was defeated by Duterte.
When both sought the first congressional district in 2001, Duterte defeated Nograles.
In 2010, Nograles returned to the mayoral arena against then vice mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and lost to the young Duterte.
When Duterte ran for president last year, Rep. Karlo backed the elder Duterte. Karlo is Duterte’s nephew because his mother is a cousin of the President.
The Nograles’ expression of support was sealed with the oath taking of Karlo as a member of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino in the same occasion.
He took the opportunity to take an oath before the President because he could not attend the mass oath-taking of incoming PDP members on September 8 in Davao due to the scheduled budget hearings.
Karlo, who was a member of the Lakas-CMD, is the current chairman of the powerful House Committee on Appropriations.
He decided to join PDP in support of Duterte and to give in to the invitations of other party members.
Karlo said it is important for the people of Davao and of Mindanao to unite.
Meanwhile, Duterte said he was glad that Rep. Karlo considered him an important part of his personal and political life. He also thanked Karlo for his help especially during this times when the country is facing challenges.
He said, “Karlo’s strong public advocacies go beyond the interests of the people of Davao City.”
The President also cited Karlo’s proactive legislative work in promoting the welfare of the youth and the workers which is making a significant impact in the entire country.
“With the work you have done for us, you have my admiration and respect. I know that you deserve all the happiness and love, especially from your supporters, friends, and family,” he added.
“I hope you stay by my side as we serve the country and work to make lasting and meaningful changes in the Philippines,” Duterte said. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)