Lakas-Kampi shrinking, but more unified: official
MANILA, Philippines – A top official of the ruling Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats on Tuesday said the political party is becoming more unified despite a wave of defections by Lakas-Kampi party members.
In an interview on ANC’s “Dateline Philippines”, Lakas-Kampi vice-chairman Oscar Moreno said the political party is becoming more streamlined, contrary to reports that it is slowly disintegrating.
“It is admitted that [our] number is getting smaller but smaller it may seem but it’s getting more solid and unified. I would rather call it a maturing and streamlining process. It’s a transformation of Lakas,” he said.
He noted that at least 150 Lakas-CMD members won in the congressional election in 1998. He said that of that number, less than 30 have remained after joining the party of would-be Speaker Manny Villar.
Moreno admitted he felt relieved that House Speaker Prospero Nograles Jr. is not leaving the party despite confirming on Monday that he was seriously considering leaving Lakas-Kampi CMD.
“It’s possible he felt slighted. Speaker nga naman siya and then ngayon ang chairmanship sa party is with one of his deputy speakers. Baka may protocol issue yan and certainly as a Speaker, he is a high ranking official of the country and certainly dapat din naman bibigyan ng role,” he said.
Moreno said Lakas-Kampi is undergoing a particularly difficult phase, which has been compounded by the upcoming elections in May. He said other political parties such as the Liberal Party could be facing the same problems as more groups join them.
“It’s not like the Nacionalista Party where only one person, Sen. Manny Villar, is making all the decisions. It’s still a democracy in Lakas-Kampi,” he said.
Moreno admitted that lack of finances is causing some of the problems in Lakas, adding that the situation would be different if the party had all the resources.
He added that the election is an opportune time for local leaders to be more discerning and to let the people make a judgment on their performance.
Moreno said Lakas-Kampi CMD standard bearer Gilbert Teodoro harbors no resentment for party members who have jumped ship. He said Teodoro particularly mentioned Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales who resigned as Lakas-Kampi-CMD senior official to join the Liberal Party.
“I’m sure Boyet [Gonzales]’s decision must have been very, very difficult. He is also sentimental and he made his decision for family and tradition. He was actually chosen by Gibo to introduce him during the convention last year,” he said.