Espina was sworn in by Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, bringing the party’s number in the House to 30, composed of 15 district congressmen and 15 party-list representatives.
STAR/File
Defections in Duterte dominant PDP-Laban continue
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP-Laban) yesterday lost another member in the House of Representatives after Biliran Rep. Gerardo Espina Jr. defected to Lakas-CMD party.

Espina was sworn in by Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, bringing the party’s number in the House to 30, composed of 15 district congressmen and 15 party-list representatives. 

“We will continue to strengthen our political influence nationwide,” Romualdez, representative of Leyte’s first district and chairman of the committee on rules, said. 

Espina sits as vice chairman of the House committees on health and agrarian reform.

As part of the administration’s coalition party, Romualdez reiterated Lakas-CMD’s commitment to support the passage of President Duterte’s legislative agenda.  

“Lakas-CMD remains and will always be a partner of the administration in ensuring the passage of the President’s legislative agenda to make the lives of Filipinos more comfortable,” Romualdez said. 

Deputy Speaker and PDP-Laban stalwart Johnny Pimentel earlier acknowledged the dwindling party members in the House following the defections of lawmakers to other political parties. 

“I have nothing against those who transferred. I wish them luck, but now we are in the process of strengthening the party’s members,” Pimentel, who chairs the Northern Mindanao bloc, said.

“There are rumors that six House members will be joining Lakas-CMD. This is a democratic country, every congressman has the prerogative to choose his own party – this is how Philippine politics works,” he added.

The ruling party will hold a general assembly on March 4 that will be attended by Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Earlier this month, four administration stalwarts joined the National Unity Party (NUP), which is the second largest political party in the House.

Deputy Speakers Neptali Gonzales II (Mandaluyong) and Dan Fernandez (Laguna), Reps. Sandra Eriguel (La Union) and Rolando Uy (Cagayan de Oro) took their oath before NUP president Elpidio Barzaga Jr.

There are 61 NUP members in the House. Of the number, 49 are district representatives and 12 belong to party-list coalition.

Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paolo  Duterte is an honorary NUP member. 

Last December, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado joined Lakas-CMD.

The ruling PDP-Laban is composed of 63 members in the House. Other administration-allied parties include those from the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). 

The NP of former Senate president Manny Villar has 41 members while the NPC of business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. reportedly has 35 members.

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