WORK MODE. Work at the Davao City Hall continues for Mayor Sara Duterte in this July 2021 photo amid calls for her to succeed her father, President Rodrigo Duterte. On Saturday (Aug. 7, 2021), the mayor said she will sue persons who use her name even if they are her supporters. (Photo courtesy of Mayor Sara Duterte Facebook)

DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte will pursue legal action against persons who besmirch her reputation even if they claim they are her supporters.

Duterte’s statement was issued Saturday after a video circulated on social media, showing a group at the Davao International Airport talking about a meeting with the mayor and the use of an airplane to bring in campaign materials.

“I do not tolerate these activities and I will not hesitate to pursue legal action against those who besmirched my reputation even if they are my supporters,” Duterte said.

She added she did not know the persons in the video -- a certain Gino, Bong Acquia, and Joseph Ponce of the Ituloy Ang Pagbabago Movement (IPM) 2022.

“I am not a member of and not privy to IPM activities,” Duterte said.

In the video, Ponce, allegedly the IPM secretary general, showed the aircraft that he said will transport the campaign materials of Duterte when she runs for President in the 2022 elections.

“The public is advised that I have never told anyone that I am running for President and I have not conducted any meeting about the use of a plane for my campaign materials,” the mayor said.

She also reiterated her warning to her supporters about using her name in their personal transactions.

“I have already successfully pursued a case for name-dropping and recently supported a case against an organized crime group of money scammers who used my name in their fraudulent activities,” Duterte added.

On Aug. 4 the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) presented a group of scammers using the name of Duterte and other city officials in their illegal activities.

NCRPO chief Maj. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. identified the group's leaders as Patrick Orinio Cerbito, Ramon Segundo, Antonio Cerbito, and Antonio Segundo.

Investigation showed the group solicited money purportedly for the campaign and logistical funds of Duterte in exchange for favors and other forms of assistance.

Ponce later issued a public apology to Duterte and IPM national chair, Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista, for the video.

"For the information of the public, I, the Secretary-General of IPM 2022 Joseph Ponce, sincerely apologize to all members of IPM 2022 and the supporters of Inday Sara about the personal video I made regarding the support of an air shipping company on the thrust of IPM 2022. I am very happy with the support provided by the owner of this airline, who is my friend, and enabled me to give a message that will have a different perspective,” he said in a statement.

He said they are still waiting for Duterte’s decision.

“We at IPM 2022 still do not have a definite answer as to whether she will run for the presidency in 2022. Again, I apologize for my mistake, and to all those who support Mayor Inday Sara. Sorry,” he said. (PNA)