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Ex-solon says Gloria Arroyo ordered Lakas-CMD members to support VP Binay

Former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has given "a marching order" to Lakas-CMD members to back Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential bid as a way of expressing gratitude for his support for calls for her house arrest, a party member said Monday.

“Mrs. Arroyo has given a marching order for Lakas-CMD members to meet and provide to support to VP Binay whenever he visits areas where the party holds sway,” former Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, a staunch Arroyo ally, said in a phone interview.

Lakas-CMD, or the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, counts more than 1,000 politicians all over the country as members, according to Suarez.

Suarez said Arroyo decided to throw her support behind Binay to repay his kindness to her.

“Mrs. Arroyo is just reciprocating the sympathy VP Binay showed to her plight as someone who had been placed in detention. VP Binay had asked the Aquino administration to place her under house arrest,” he said.

The former President has been under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) since 2012  pending the resolution of her plunder case at the Sandiganbayan over her alleged misuse of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office's (PCSO) intelligence funds.

The anti-graft court has yet to act on her standing petition to be placed under house arrest.

But even as Lakas-CMD is moving toward supporting Binay, Suarez clarified that a formal alliance between the party and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) has yet to be created.

“We might make the official announcement after LP (the Liberal Party) declares who its candidates will be,” he said.

What’s certain, Suarez said, is the inclusion of certain Lakas-CMD members in UNA’s senatorial lineup.

Among the members whom Suarez said might run under UNA include Lakas-CMD president and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado, wife of Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., who is currently detained in connection with the alleged pork barrel scam. —KBK, GMA News