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Freeman Metro Cebu

Talisay Vice Mayor Villarante leaves Liberal Party

Garry B. Lao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – It's final: Talisay City Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante is leaving Liberal Party.

"I have formally informed Governor Junjun Davide that we are leaving the party to look for another group," Villarante told reporters in a press conference yesterday morning.

Among present during his formal announcement was his running mate, City Councilor Danilo Caballero  and incumbent City Councilor Aldin Diaz.

Villarante joined LP in 2010 when Davide ran but lost to governor Gwen Garcia.

"I was hoping until Governor Davide said that he will support JVR (Mayor Johnny De los Reyes). For our group, we cannot wait for Secretary Mar to decide," Villarante said as he expressed his disappointment in the leadership of Davide.

He said there was no "fair chance" of being selected as the standard-bearer of LP in Talisay.

Davide expressed his preference to support the re-election bid of De los Reyes as it was an ideal arrangement to follow the equity-of-the-incumbent rule. The governor tried to convince Villarante to be the mayor's running mate but the vice mayor reportedly turned it down.

De los Reyes was appointed as the party chairman in the city for the 2016 elections. It was signed by LP Secretary General Mel Senen Sarmiento in a certificate dated January 5.

"I already feel the body language of Governor Davide that he is for JVR," the vice mayor said.

Now that Villarante is bolting LP, the vice mayor said he is now open for negotiation with other political party like the party of Vice President Jejomar Binay of United Nationalist Alliance and Senator Grace Poe of the National People's Coalition.

Sought whether he will be supporting Davide's gubernatorial bid, Villarante said, "we will draw the line."

But one thing is for sure for Villarante's group: They will be supporting San Fernando Mayor Abe Canoy, who already expressed his intention to challenge incumbent Rep. Gerald Anthony "Samsam" Gullas.

"As long as the Gullases are there, mawani gyud ta. Dili gyud mahitabo nga magkuyog ta nga naa ang mga Gullas," Villarante said.

An alliance with the Gullases, according to Villarante, is very impossible since former congressman Edguardo Gullas and former Talisay municipal town mayor and Regional Trial Court judge Leoncio Abarquez, the father of the wife of the vice mayor, have political and personal gap.

CITY COUNCILOR ALDIN DIAZ

CITY COUNCILOR DANILO CABALLERO

DAVIDE

EDGUARDO GULLAS

GERALD ANTHONY

GOVERNOR DAVIDE

GOVERNOR JUNJUN DAVIDE

MAYOR

QUOT

REYES

VILLARANTE

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