More local leaders joining Duterte
More and more leaders in Cebu are joining the administration’s Partido Demokratiko PilipinoLakas ng Bayan (PDP - Laban).
A mass oath taking will take place in Cebu at the Plaza Independencia on Friday, November 17.
In Cebu City, at least 65 barangay captains and six city councilors allied with Barug Team Rama will take their oath.
Councilors Jose Daluz III, Raymond Alvin Garcia, Jocelyn Pesquera, Joel Garganera, Eduardo Rama, and ex-officio member Phillip Zafra will join the oath taking this Friday.
Zafra said the barangay captains have decided to join the mass oath taking despite the provision of the Local Government Code that officials of the barangays have to be apolitical.
“The law says that barangay officials should be apolitical but we are placed in our positions through elections and it is clear that we have our local parties,” he contended.
Zafra said barangay officials have the constitutional right to form and/or join an association or organization.
Besides, he said, the barangay officials are one with the current administration in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.
Only Councilor Pastor Alcover, Jr. who is a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, will not join the bandwagon. He said he will remain independent.
“We have a very long history ni Duterte. I will remain independent but I will respect the decision of my group,” Alcover told The FREEMAN.
To recall, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez administered the oath of Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and councilors James Anthony Cuenco, Daluz, and Pesquera on August 27, 2016.
During that event, instead of taking an oath for party membership, 65 barangay captains allied with Barug Team Rama signed a manifesto expressing their support for the current administration, especially in the fight against illegal drugs and criminality.
Yesterday, the Martinezes in the Fourth District said they are bent on joining the administration party but won't participate the mass oath taking.
Board Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III said some mayors in the fourth district have also expressed interest to take their oath “but most would also prefer that it be at a separate time and venue from that of the upcoming mass oath taking.”
Tining is the president of the Liga ng mga Barangay (LnB) in Bogo City being the barangay captain of Cayang and represents the LnB Federation in the Provincial Board.
Tining's other siblings are Bogo City Mayor Carlo Jose Martinez and Vice Mayor Ma. Cielo Martinez while all the city councilors are also allies of LP.
“Whatever the decision would be, we will do it as a group,” he said.
His father, former Bogo mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr., led the Liberal Party in the district during the 2016 elections.
The other LP allies in the Fourth District are San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez, Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr., Santa Fe Mayor Jose Esgana, and Madridejos Mayor Jay River dela Fuente.
Fourth District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon who is already a member of PDPLaban under the National Unity Party said vice mayors and other town officials will join the oath taking.
Salimbangon will join his allies in One Cebu led by Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia during the mass oath taking on Friday.
The mayors allied with Salimbangon are Tabogon Mayor Siegfred Duterte, Tabuelan Casiano Rex Gerona and Bantayan Mayor Ian Christopher Escario.
Daabantayan Mayor Vicente Loot is an ally of Salimbangon but is a member of United Nationalists Alliance (UNA). His councilors will also join the mass oath taking, Salimbangon said.
Meanwhile, the head of PDP-Laban in Tuburan, Daphne Lagon, said she will accept membership applications from the group of her rival, Mayor Democrito Diamante, Jr. who will also attend the oath taking.
PDP-Laban provincial president Nixon “Jojo” Dizon said those who wants to join the party must undergo the Basic Membership Seminar and oath taking and must be endorsed by the president of the municipal or city chapter.
“Pwede ko mo-accept basta moagi sa ako, as maayo seguro, depende nila kung moari sila sa PDP,” Lagon said.
Lagon clarified, however, that she would prefer candidates from her own group come 2019 elections.
Diamante said he will abide by the decision of the party. He is now on his third and final term as mayor.
The other day, no less than Governor Hilario Davide III, the leader of LP in Cebu, said all mayors in the Second and Seventh Districts who supported LP in the 2016 elections are moving to PDP – Laban.
In a statement yesterday, One Cebu said it welcomes the officials who are joining PDP-Laban.
“We fully support the political masterstroke of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Secretary General of PDPLABAN, and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, Secretary Michael Dino, in consolidating all political forces that, after the May 2016 elections, have now seen the light and switched their support from their old parties and loyalties to the administration of President Duterte and PDP-LABAN,” said Deputy Speaker Garcia, founder of One Cebu.
She said the party will come full force during the mass oath taking.
Since the May 2016 elections, One Cebu has been a coalition partner of PDP-Laban in Cebu.
“This newfound unity can only be good for Cebu. One Cebu was founded in the year 2007 to consolidate the then unprecedented political unity in the Province of Cebu. One Cebu is hopeful that this mass oath taking will once again usher in a new era of political unity in the province,” added Garcia.
She said a “united force” will help institutionalize the priority programs of President Rodrigo Duterte, namely (1) federalism; (2) the war against drugs and criminality; (3) the war against poverty; and (4) the redistribution of the nation's wealth to the Visayas and Mindanao through infrastructure spending.
WAIT AND SEE
In Lapu-Lapu City, Mayor Paz Radaza said she and her councilors who have moved to PDP-Laban would just wait for the decision of Alvarez and Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino on the protest to their membership.
Her rival in Lapu-Lapu, Rolando Patalinjug, and the latter's group, have protested the membership.
“I'll just wait kung unsay feedback ni Speaker Alvarez and Secretary Dino. We'll just take it from there… mao ra man (gihapon ilahang) intriga (ug) estorya. Unya na nako entertain-on og grabe na kaayo," she said.
The manifesto of protest reads:
“In this regard, we are hereby formally tendering our protest to the membership of Mayor Radaza and company who have not even provided an iota of contribution to the growth of our party locally.”