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Cebu News

Rama on 2 allies' decision to stay - 'Hallejujah'

Mary Ruth R. Malinao - The Freeman
Rama on 2 allies' decision to stay - 'Hallejujah'
“We hereby officially declare and hereby adhere to the call of our political leaders and supporters to set aside our previous decision to be independent and has henceforth returned to the fold of our local party BARUG as official candidates!” read the official joint statement of the south district councilors.

CEBU, Philippines —  Acting Cebu City mayor Michael Rama exclaimed “hallelujah” over the development that Councilors Phillip Zafra and Donaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros have officially decided to stay with the Barug PDP-Laban.

“We hereby officially declare and hereby adhere to the call of our political leaders and supporters to set aside our previous decision to be independent and has henceforth returned to the fold of our local party BARUG as official candidates!” read the official joint statement of the south district councilors.

Last September, Zafra and Hontiveros expressed their intention to run independent in the 2022 national elections. During the presentation of Barug PDP-Laban’s slate last October, they were declared as the party’s guest candidates.

“But we did not officially resign from the party though. We filed our COC (Certificate of Candidacy) sans any party affiliation but continued to openly support the candidates of our local party BARUG, especially that of its standard bearer, Acting Mayor Michael Lopez Rama,” read their statement.

Rama says ‘Hallelujah’

Rama, the leader of Partido Barug, said he “felt a thorn was plucked, not just one but two, with Hontiveros and Zafra’s decision to return to his fold.”

“Hallelujah tawn! Hallelujah tawn!” he told The FREEMAN.

Rama admitted that it was such a “herculean task” to put everyone in the party together.

“Bringing all this family together is not at all an ordinary challenge... Putting it apart together has always been not an ordinary challenge. It was really a herculean task to put all of them together,” he said.

Before Hontiveros and Zafra decided to return to Barug, Rama considered them still part of his political family which he called as “family of public servants.”

This is why the two councillors, he said, were still with Rama when the latter announced the party’s official line-up for the next elections.

Convinced

In the past few weeks, many of Barug’s political leaders talked with Zafra and Hontiveros and prevailed upon them to reconsider their decision to be independent candidates.

“They pointed to us the importance of party oneness and unity in order that we will be able to pursue our desire of rebuilding the city amid this pandemic. Moreover, they believe that we can best pursue our cause for our people and at the same time remain independent-minded while taking an active role as members of our Partido BARUG,” Zafra and Hontiveros said in the statement.

They said party leaders, specifically Rama, former councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, and Councilor Eduardo Rama, Jr. were also instrumental in making them decide to stay with the party.

Zafra and Hontiveros started their political career with Partido Barug. — Caecent N. Magsumbol, JMD (FREEMAN)

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