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Lakas-Kampi-CMD in limbo as party president quits post

March 31, 2010 12:41pm
(Update 4 – 3:41 PM) Two more officials of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party have quit their posts, less than 24 hours after its standard bearer Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. resigned as chairman, a party member said Wednesday.

Lakas-Kampi president Miguel Dominguez and party secretary-general Francis Manglapus have resigned from their respective posts, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez told GMANews.TV in a phone interview.

Earlier reports said Dominguez quit his post to give the new party chairman a free hand in choosing the party president. Lakas officials have said they will discuss Teodoro's resignation after the Holy Week.

Dominguez may have resigned to focus on his own reelection bid, Suarez said.

"Maybe kasi start na ng local [campaign] e, alam mo na baka nahirapan syang i-address yung concerns [of the party]," Suarez said. "He has a fight of his own, baka he wants to face his battle in his province."

(With the start of the local campaign period, he might have encountered difficulties in addressing the party’s concerns.)

Suarez admitted that he was "somewhat disappointed" over the resignations of Teodoro and Dominguez, but said it was "better to put a president and chairman who are not candidates."

Both Dominguez and Manglapus were unavailable for comment but their respective staff members told GMANews.TV that they were attending separate meetings as of posting time.

On Tuesday, Teodoro resigned as party chairman to focus on his presidential campaign.

Although Teodoro, Dominguez, and Manglapus will remain as party members, their resignations have left the administration party without top leaders a little over a month before the May 10 elections.

Gov. Miguel Dominguez speaks at a Lakas-Kampi-CMD proclamation rally in Malungon, Sarangani last Monday.Photo from Sarangani official website

Palace worried, party members confused over resignations

Malacañang, for its part, admitted being worried over the subsequent resignations happening in the administration party, a report aired over radio dzMM said.

Deputy presidential spokesman Ricardo Saludo clarified that the issue with the party officials must not affect the rest of its members.

He also denied speculations that the resignations have something to do with rumors that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to support another presidential candidate.

Prior to Teodoro's resignation, several key members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD such as former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson and Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri.threw their support behind Nacionalista Party standard bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr.

Cebu City mayoralty candidate Alvin Garcia of the administration-allied Garcia clan, also forged an alliance with Villar last week along with members of the local opposition party, Kusug.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles, former vice chairman of the party and now a member of its national advisory board, said he and other senior leaders of Lakas-Kampi-CMD were surprised by the resignations.

"It is a shock to me and without consultation from us, the previous leaders of the party. (I) am now confused and seem to be out of the loop," Nograles said in a text message about Teodoro's resignation.

He echoed the same sentiments about Dominguez’s move.

"What has happened to our party? To each his own?" Nograles said in the same text message.

"The local troops now are as confused [as I am] over this event," added Nograles, who is running as mayor in Davao City against Sara Duterte, the daughter of his longtime political foe, incumbent mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Suarez said national leaders of the party like Teodoro and Dominguez could probably no longer attend to members' demands such as financial backing because they have their own campaigns to focus on.

"You expect the dominant ruling majority who has enough machinery to make a president. Now if the order is support the national candidate, then equitably you (local candidates) must also expect some support [from the national leadership]," Suarez said.

Suarez also maintained that he was still backing Teodoro's presidential bid.

Asked to confirm Dominguez's resignation, Ronaldo Puno, a member of the party's national advisory board, said: "Totoo yata (Maybe it's true)."

Resignations may cripple ruling party

Bobby Tuazon, director of Center for People Empowerment and Governance or CenPEG, said the resignations “might cripple the political machinery of the ruling coalition."

"We also have to connect the dots. Why are these happening after [Lakas-Kampi-CMD key members] shifted their allegiance to Manny Villar?" Bobby Tuazon said, adding that Dominguez’s resignation will affect the morale of his party-mates.

The Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino led by former President Joseph Estrada said Teodoro and Dominguez’s resignations confirmed allegations that Villar was the administration’s secret candidate.

"It just confirms what we already knew from the start – that Villar is the true administration bet. This is literally Villar’s ‘coming out’ party…. Villar needs to confess to the Filipino people," PMP spokesperson Ralph Calinisan said in a text message to GMANews.TV.

Political analyst Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform said that while Teodoro's resignation might initially boost his ratings because he has, in effect, distanced himself from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, it would work badly for him in the end because he might end up not getting enough party resources.

"In another sense it's a bad move kasi you're cutting off yourself from the actual umbilical cord mo," Casiple said.

"Pag nakita nila (local candidates) wala namang pera galing kay Gibo, why would they support his candidacy?" Casiple added. - with reports from Sophia Dedace, Aie Balagtas-See, and Andreo Calonzo/LBG/RSJ/RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV
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