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Roque on Trillanes: He can do what he wants

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Roque on Trillanes: He can do what he wants
Undated file photo of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV shakes hands with presidential spokesman Harry Roque
Geremy Pintolo, file

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday expressed disinterest in former senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s plan to run for president in 2022 if Vice President Leni Robredo does not make a decision by Oct. 8, the last day of filing for the certificate of candidacy.

“Why would I give a statement, it’s his life, he can do what he wants,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a media briefing when asked to comment on Trillanes’ remark.

“He has the right to run. Good luck,” the Palace spokesman said.

Trillanes is one of the vocal critics of President Duterte.

The former senator said he would push through with his plan to seek the presidency if Robredo does not decide by noon of Oct. 8.

“I will push through with my presidential run. We will not let the true opposition lose without a fight,” Trillanes said in Filipino.

Trillanes ran for vice president and lost to Robredo in 2016.

Joining Isko’s party

Former Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc and review center entrepreneur Carl Balita took their oaths yesterday as senatorial candidates of Aksyon Demokratiko.

They took their oaths before party chairman and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno at Liwasan Bonifacio, Manila yesterday.

At a press conference, Moreno said he expects more people to join his senatorial slate. He said he will work with all sides regardless of political color.

“We must come together and start healing ourselves. We don’t want to hate. Let us move on,” Moreno said.

For her part, Gutoc said she hopes to get elected as senator to help with the health crisis. Gutoc ran but lost under the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate in 2019.

Moreno said the Mindanao civic leader will represent the Muslims in the Senate.

Balita, a review center entrepreneur, said he hopes to represent the concerns of his fellow educators and medical practitioners.

Meanwhile, the once ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) continues to beef up its force in the House of Representatives in time for the expected return of former president and speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the chamber next year.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, national president of the reemerging party, revealed that they now have 50 members and allies in the chamber after recruiting two more veteran congressmen.

When the 18th Congress started in July 2019, Lakas-CMD only had nine members in the House.

The Leyte congressman announced over the weekend that La Union 2nd district Rep. Sandra Eriguel and Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma have joined Lakas-CMD, bringing the number of congressional district representatives in the current Congress to 28.

Romualdez said they also have 22 allies among incumbent party-list congressmen.

“We welcome our fellow legislators to the growing force of Lakas-CMD. In line with our commitment to serve the people, we continue to open our doors to leaders inside and out the House of Representatives,” Romualdez said after leading the separate oath-taking of the new recruits.

“Our new members have come from diverse backgrounds and locations but we all unite to fulfill one goal: to lead our nation efficiently and competently,” he stressed.

Eriguel transferred from the ruling PDP-Laban and Cuaresma from the National Unity Party (NUP).

The 50 current members of Lakas-CMD, which represent one-sixth of the total number of congressmen, are expected to grow further next year as more congressional candidates have also joined the party.

Among them is businesswoman Katrina Gloria Ponce Enrile, daughter of former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, who will run for representative of the first district of Cagayan under Lakas-CMD.

It was reported over the weekend that Arroyo has accepted the party’s certificate of nomination and acceptance for the second district of Pampanga for next year’s elections.

Her son, incumbent Rep. Mikey Arroyo, is reportedly planning to run for a party-list seat.

While the selection of the Speaker in the House historically depends on endorsement by the President to administration allies, it would need the support of dominant parties in the chamber where everything is decided by numbers.

Cash aid program

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday warned local officials against using the government’s cash-for-work program for politicking. – Marc Jayson Cayabyab, Edu Punay, Mayen Jaymalin, Robertzon Ramirez, Rhodina Villanueva

ANTONIO TRILLANES HARRY ROQUE
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