The camp of gubernatorial bet Deputy Speaker Arthur Yap is not taking down posters printed with a photo of him and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The release of the campaign materials featuring Duterte-Carpio raising Yap’s hand initially caused an uproar from the camp of his rival, Leoncio Evasco, Jr., whose candidacy was personally endorsed by the presidential daughter less than two weeks before the posters were released in early April. They demanded for Yap to remove the posters.
Evasco however changed his tune this week as he dared Yap not to take down the posters for Duterte-Carpio to see them for herself when she visits Bohol again on Tuesday.
According to Yap’s camp, there was no need for Evasco to challenge them as they had no plans of removing the posters anyway.
Yap has repeatedly asserted that Duterte-Carpio gave him permission to use their photos for his campaign materials.
The third-term Bohol Third District congressman also debunked claims that the photos were fake and manipulated.
Yap had earlier noted there were two occasions that he had pictures with Duterte raising his hand—one was during a celebration of his birthday on November 10 last year, and the second was during a private dinner on February 26, 2019.
“Daghan ang mga witnesses. Naa man kanako ang mga ebidensya. Many congressmen were there sa akong birthday. So, gi-isa akong kamot ni Ma’am Sara. And, then ang ikaduha nga okasyon, in a private dinner. That was on February 26,” Yap said.
Yap described his relationship with the Dutertes, including Sara and President Duterte, as “quite deep” as he noted the history between the father-daughter political powerhouse and former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Yap’s close ally.
The younger Duterte has long been seen to be behind the ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker and his replacement by Arroyo.
“The relationship between Speaker GMA and President Duterte is very deep. Dugay mi nag-uban. Nag-abot pa mi sa Cabinet ni Mayor Rodrigo Duterte at that time when I was with the cabinet as well. And then karon, full support si Ma’am Sara ni Speaker GMA. Sa tinuod ra, kahibaw man ang tanan nga sya ang naglihok sa tanan for the candidacy of GMA mahimong Speaker. We worked on many projects together. Mao nga lawm lawm ang relasyon and taas-taas ang respeto sa usa’g usa,” Yap said.
Yap is also running under Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan while Evasco is a longtime member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Evasco however has been an ally of Duterte since he was mayor of Davao City. Evasco was his campaign manager during the 2016 presidential elections.