Sara Duterte leaves Lakas-CMD, hints at ‘political powerplay’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — Vice President Sara Duterte has resigned irrevocably as member of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), dubbed as the ruling political party in the House of Representatives.

Duterte, who serves as the party’s chairperson, said the resignation is effective Friday.

She did not provide a specific reason for her decision to quit the party, but hinted at "powerplay" as the rationale behind it.

“I am here today because of the trust of the Filipino people...This cannot be poisoned by political toxicity or undermined by execrable political powerplay,” Duterte said, without elaborating further.

Last February, Duterte and House Speaker Martin Romualdez—a first cousin of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.—reassumed their roles as chairman and president of the Lakas-CMD, respectively.

“I am grateful to all the party members for the support that also once demonstrated that unity is possible to advance our shared dreams for our fellow Filipinos and our beloved country,” she said.

Duterte also said her commitment to serve Filipinos remains “immutable.”

Lakas-CMD, meanwhile, said it respects and “understands” Duterte’s decision to leave.

It also thanked the vice president for the services she rendered to the party and for “helping build a Unity Team aimed at bringing meaningful change to Philippine society.”

“We also support her call for all political leaders to unite in support of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., and for all of us to work for the success of this administration for the benefit of our people,” read the statement issued by the party’s Secretary General Rep. Joboy Aquino.

Asked to comment on Duterte's remarks, Marcos said it's "exactly as she says."

"Kung ano 'yung sinabi niya, 'yun ang ibig sabihin nya [Whatever it is that she says, that's what she means]," Marcos told reporters at an event in Ilocos Norte.

The president added that he understands Duterte's move, considering she has to simultaneously fill her roles as vice president, secretary of the Department of Education, and co-vice chairperson of the government's anti-communist task force.

"She has too much work to do. She cannot be involved in any of this, she cannot allow herself to be distracted, that's the way I read it. And it's true," Marcos said.