PDP members in Negros Occidental resign en masse

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — About 60 officials and members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) in Negros Occidental have resigned en masse from the political party, its provincial chairman Mayor Alfredo Benitez disclosed yesterday.

The PDP, which had already dropped the Laban (Lakas ng Bayan) from a previous merger, is chaired by former president Rodrigo Duterte.

“As PDP members, we were not even invited to gatherings and meetings. What do you expect?” Benitez said.

“It’s not as if we did not heed their call,” he added.

The late governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. led Negros Occidental officials in supporting then interior secretary Mar Roxas, who was defeated by Rodrigo Duterte in the race for the presidency in 2016.

A year later, Benitez, then congressman of Negros Occidental’s third district, together with Marañon as well as about 200 elected officials of the province, joined and took their oath as PDP-Laban members.

A month ago, the group of Victorias City Vice Mayor Abelardo Bantug Jr. and nine city councilors resigned from the PDP after lawyer Jesus Hinlo, deputy secretary general of PDP Visayas, announced that the party is eyeing the fielding of former mayor Francis Frederick Palanca against incumbent Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson in next year’s midterm elections without consulting them.

Almost all elected government officials in Negros Occidental who are PDP members are members of the Love Negros-United Negros Alliance coalition that is supporting Lacson’s re-election bid.

The PDP members, who met with Benitez last Saturday at his residence in Bacolod City, signed a manifesto stating their irrevocable resignation from the party, with many more having expressed their intention to sign.

Of the resigned PDP members, eight are incumbent mayors, five are vice mayors and the rest are councilors, according to Benitez.

Asked if they will join President Marcos’ Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Benitez replied: “We are considering what political party we will be joining.”

He said they would make a decision in the near future.

Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, Marcos’ personal adviser in Western Visayas, clarified that there was no order from the President for PDP members to resign from their political party.

Ferrer, however, said that he would respect the elected officials’ decision should they resign from the PDP.

He also expressed support for Lacosn’s re-election bid for his third and final term as Negros Occidental’s governor.

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