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Lakas exodus continues: Two Mindanao execs jump to NP

April 15, 2010 11:29pm
More defections have hit the beleaguered administration party Lakas-Kampi-CMD as two of its provincial leaders in Mindanao shifted loyalties to the Manny Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP).

According to a report by Sherry Ann Torres in QTV’s “News on Q," Lanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa (1st district) and former Rep. Benasing Macarambon (2nd district) were among the more than 30 local executives who have recently jumped ship to NP.

Torres said most of these local officials were from Lakas-Kampi-CMD, which has been rocked by a series of defections lately, the most recent being Albay Governor Jose “Joey" Salceda, who was also President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s economic adviser.

Karamihan sa amin na pumunta sa NP (Most of us moved to the NP)... it’s because of the leadership of Lakas," Dumarpa said, adding that she was not invited when the administration party proclaimed Gilberto “Gibo" Teodoro as its standard bearer for the May elections last year.

“During the proclamation of the national candidates, wala ako sa listahan (I was not on the list), so definitely I have to go out," she said.

Macarambon said he moved to NP because he believes in the advocacy of Villar. “I chose Villar because of his stand on the Mindanao peace process," he said, referring to the government’s peace efforts with Moro rebel groups.

Both Macarambon and Dumarpa admitted that their decision did not have the blessing of President Arroyo, president emeritus of Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

The “News on Q" report said Macarambon is persuading other officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) – which is composed of five provinces and one city – to join NP.

Villar, in the same report, said more members of other parties are set to join NP in the coming days. He, however, did not identify them.

“We don’t want to preempt them," he said.


Aside from Salceda, who joined the Liberal Party, other Lakas-Kampi-CMD members who recently cut ties with the party were Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, Bukidnon Governor Jose Zubiri, and Cebu City mayoralty candidate Alvin Garcia of the administration-allied Garcia clan. The three are now with NP.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles said the defections were due to dissatisfaction over Teodoro’s leadership. He recently bared that he and several other senior members of Lakas-Kampi-CMD are thinking of forming another faction and endorsing a different presidential candidate.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Nograles said the administration party has been “out of control" ever since Teodoro became its national chairman.

He said Teodoro “abandoned the party… at the most crucial hour [during the] start of the local campaign" when he resigned as its chairperson late last month to supposedly focus on his candidacy.

Loyal to Gibo

Despite this development, several local candidates that belong to Lakas-Kampi-CMD made assurances of their loyalty to Teodoro.

Governor Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez of Antique said she was surprised that Salceda “stabbed Gibo in the back" and warned LP’s standard bearer, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III that Salceda might do the same thing to him.

“If Salceda can do this to Gibo, he can also do this to you [Aquino]," she said.

She said Salceda has lost his credibility, although she expressed hope that the people of Albay will still vote for Teodoro “and teach their governor a lesson or two about betrayal and loss of palabra de honor (word of honor)."

She said the defections of the traditional politicians and “snakes in the Gibo camp" would reinvigorate the party.

Sulu Gov. Abdusakur Tan said the party should not be worried about the defections of a
few because “the important thing is that we know who they [defectors] are and we can plan accordingly."

Governor Isidro Zayco of Negros Occidental and Erlpe John “Ping" Amante of Agusan del Norte said Salceda’s betrayal would not have any effect on their provinces.

Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone, the spokesman of Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and secretary-general of the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP), said his province would stick to Teodoro.

Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said mayors in her province are preparing for a grand rally in April 27 for Teodoro, who will be the guest speaker in the celebration of Kadaugan sa Mactan, which commemorates the 1521 victory of local chieftain Lapu-Lapu over the Spanish forces led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan.

Former Budget secretary Rolando Andaya Jr., who is running for congressman of Camarines Sur, said he is sticking it out with Teodoro and the ruling party. He said no offers have been sent to him by other parties and he has not sent any feelers to them.

“No offer has been made and none shall be accepted. I am happy where I am now. Although it is becoming fashionable to don new party colors as we head towards the homestretch of the campaign, I will not change mine," he said in a statement. – KBK, GMANews.TV
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