Solons' farewell: 5 leave Liberal Party for president's PDP-Laban

Solons' farewell: 5 leave Liberal Party for president's PDP-Laban

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman has left the Liberal Party to join the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. File

MANILA, Philippines — Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Wednesday welcomed its new members who came from the Liberal Party (LP), Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP) and Lakas–CMD.

Five of the new members of the House of Representatives majority came from the LP: Lanao del Sur Rep. Ansaruddin Adiong, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas.

"I joined the PDP-Laban because I want to show my support to the president. My message…is I want to help the president and this administration to succeed because the success of the president in this administration is the success of the entire nation. And the failure of the president in this administration is the failure of the entire nation," Bataan Rep. Roman said.

"At the end of the day, we’re all Filipinos and ang gusto lang naman natin mag-unite tayong lahat, magtulungan tayo, para sa ikagaganda ng ating bansa," Rep. Vargas said.

Also joining PDP-Laban are Masbate Rep. Scott Davies Lañete and Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Divina Grace Yu from the NPC; Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III and Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison from NP; and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Romualdo from Lakas-CMD.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, PDP Laban leader at the House, said the party now has around 120 members in the 292-seat chamber.

"Wala nang official number, hindi na namin alam ang bilang," he said.

Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, an LP stalwart, said that the lawmakers who left their party were convinced that the best way to win in the 2019 elections is by joining the majority party. Members of the House serve three-year terms.

"Those that have asked permission have stated their deep concern for their districts and the coming 2019 elections... These are political realities that face many leaders," Quimbo said in a statement.

LP: We have no people, time, money for plots

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the LP, admitted that the new party leadership faced internal and external challenges following the exodus of members to the new ruling party.

Pangilinan noted that the decimated LP has been in the crosshairs of the new administration, which believes the so-called "yellows" are behind a plot to discredit President Rodrigo Duterte. Some LP members, including Vice President Leni Robredo, have been removed from key posts in the Cabinet and in the Senate.

Sen. Leila De Lima, also a Liberal, has been detained on drug-related charges.

"We don’t have the resources – time, people, or money -- for all the accusations the social media trolls and some government officials have thrown at us," Pangilinan said in a statement.

He said LP has been in the process of reflecting, reconnecting and redefining following such developments since President Duterte took office.

"In the face of unprovoked, relentless, and baseless attacks against the party and its leaders, these processes are expectedly rough and tough," the senator said.

Pangilinan, however, wished the five former LP lawmakers well as they joined the ruling PDP-Laban. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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