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Leyte, Biliran governors left LP, join PDP-Laban

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Leyte Governor Dominic Petilla and Biliran Governor Gerry Espina left their Liberal Party membership and took their oaths, in separate occasion yesterday, as new PDP-Laban party members.

The oath-taking rites of Petilla in Tacloban City and Espina, in Naval town of Biliran, were officiated by PDP-Laban president, Senate President Koko Pimentel and PDP-Laban national membership chairman, DILG Assistant Secretary Astravel Naik, respectively.

Governor Petilla—the youngest brother of former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla who also earlier left the LP and officially joined PDP-Laban—said that it took a while for the family to finally decide to accept the invitation of Senator Pimentel that started since the campaign period in the 2016 elections.

"One thing I considered because we want a smooth working relationship between the national and local government in the name of project implementation beneficial to the people if we are one in political color. I mean that is what we intended: for the good of the province," Petilla told The Freeman.

Petilla also said that before the family’s decision for us to join the administration party, they asked the permission from the LP, in which his mother Palo (Leyte) town Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla still belongs. She however did not know yet about his joining the PDP-Laban, of which his cousin, Representative Boying Cari (5th district, Leyte) is already a member.

Another governor’s cousin, Vice Governor Carlos Loreto, however clarified to The Freeman that he is not yet ready for jump into another political party considering that he has a lot of programs and priority provincial ordinances to be given an attention this time.

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"Well it is not yet my priority, many things to take up for the good of the province, anyway the election period is  still far. The people of the province deserve first the services from the Provincial Board,” Loreto said.

In Biliran, Governor Espina yesterday also took his oath as PDP-Laban member together with his vice governor and at least 118 officials—town mayors and councilors, leaving their former parties, LP, NP and UNA, and vowing to represent as the force of PDP-Laban in the province.

The governor, who is now on his last term, also confirmed to The Freeman that he will run for a congressional seat in the lone district of Biliran. His elder brother, incumbent Rep. Rogelio Espina, will run for the gubernatorial post instead.

Governor Espina said that the culture of the Philippine political system is that a leader should belong to the administration party to gain a lot of benefits for the province especially that Biliran is, as of now, an IRA-dependent province.

“We can feel the trust and development from the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte while we are hoping that whatever development needed of our province can be given a fast response from the national government," said the governor.

His congressman-brother however did not attend the PDP-Laban membership seminar and maintained his decision not to join the party and remain still with the LP.

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