Nograles, 30 congressmen leaving Lakas for NP?
By Jess Diaz
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Prospero Nograles and at least 30 congressmen are reportedly set to bolt the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party and join the camp of Sen. Manuel Villar of the Nacionalista Party (NP).
A source close to Nograles told reporters yesterday that the Speaker and his group made the decision after Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte publicly declared his support for Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
Nograles did not confirm nor deny the report when sought for comment.
The Speaker is running for mayor in Davao City against Duterte’s daughter Sara, who is the incumbent vice mayor. Duterte, on the other hand, is his daughter’s vice mayoral teammate.
The city has about 950,000 registered voters, including thousands of dead and multiple registrants discovered recently by the Parish-Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
The source said if Mayor Duterte, “who is an administration ally and a close friend of President Arroyo, is supporting Noynoy and not Mrs. Arroyo’s candidate Gilbert Teodoro, the Speaker and his group should not be expected to stick it out with Lakas-Kampi.”
He said Nograles has also become “frustrated with the kind of treatment he is getting from the administration.”
“His concerns are not being addressed, including his request for adequate government response to the political killings and summary executions in Davao City,” the source said.
What made matters worse is the designation of Madeline “Bebot” Marfori as Lakas-Kampi’s chief campaign manager of Teodoro in Davao City, the source added.
He pointed out that Nograles, who is the ruling party’s vice chairman, considers the designation as an affront to him since Marfori is a Duterte supporter.
If the Speaker makes good his threat to bolt the ruling party and join NP, he will be Villar’s biggest catch.
Earlier, former governor Luis “Chavit” Singson of Ilocos Sur and Gov. Jose Zubiri of Bukidnon defected to Villar’s camp.
Zubiri said there was no money involved in his support for Villar, contrary to rumors that his political enemies are spreading.
“I won’t ask a single centavo from him. I am spending my own money. We have an organization down to the precinct level. You don’t need to buy votes here. People look at the candidate’s program, and that is how they choose,” he said.
Before shifting support to Villar, Zubiri said he wanted Senator Aquino to grace a political rally in Bukidnon, “but the Acostas, whom we soundly defeated in the last elections, are preventing him from accepting any invitation from the province.”
“There were emissaries from the Liberal Party camp, asking if I can help in Noynoy’s campaign, but I told them that I don’t want to be a cause of his breakup with the Acostas,” he said.
Zubiri was referring to the family of former Rep. Nereus Acosta, who is in Aquino’s senatorial ticket together with another Bukidnon resident, Rep. Teofisto Guingona III.
In the 2007 elections, the Zubiris fielded neophyte Candido Pancrudo Jr. in the first district against one of the Acostas. Pancrudo won and is now seeking a second term.
Zubiri said he resigned from Lakas “because (he) cannot stomach its alliance with Kampi.”
“Kampi has fielded a crook who made money in the Department of Agriculture as one of its congressional candidates here,” he said.
Saving Lakas party
Meanwhile, former House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. said Lakas-Kampi-CMD is now floundering after the defection of some party members, prompting him to retrieve and rescue Lakas before “it sinks with the Titanic.”
De Venecia said this is the reason why he is going all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for it and bring it back to life as it is “now dying with the merger.”
“Why am I doing this? Because the Lakas-CMD, not the merged party, which I founded with President (Fidel) Ramos and (Senator) Raul Manglapus, is the only party of its kind in the world,” said the Pangasinan fourth district congressman.
“They’re killing it,” he added.
He said he and Ramos denounced the merger at the Commission on Elections as an illegal marriage and now he filed a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court (after it initially declared it as legal and constitutional).
De Venecia said the original Lakas-CMD is the only party in the world to put together Christians and Muslims under one political roof, which was never done before in Asia and Africa, except in Lebanon.
He said they have anticipated the emerging Christian-Muslim global conflict when they created the party.
“They have killed it by merging it with Kampi. That is the passionate reason, that is the ideological reason, that is the scholarly reason for my attempt to retrieve it before they kill it completely and totally,” he said.
De Venecia said he is contacting the Lakas originals so that possibly in the next 10 days, they would come out with a declaration as to whom they will coalesce with. – With Eva Visperas