MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The ranks of the Liberal Party (LP) continue to dwindle at the House with 4 of its members set to jump ship to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The following lawmakers will take their oath as new PDP-Laban members before party secretary-general and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday afternoon, May 10:
- Ansaruddin Adiong, Lanao del Sur 1st District
- Geraldine Roman, Bataan 1st District
- Nancy Catamco, North Cotabato 2nd District
- Alfred Vargas, Quezon City 5th District
Alvarez himself confirmed the legislators will be sworn in at his office.
The 4 lawmakers informed Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, the highest ranking LP member in the House, as well as LP secretary-general and Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte of their plan to jump ship.
“Mahirap talagang manatiling LP ngayon (It’s really hard to be an LP member nowadays). Realpolitik on the ground,” said Belmonte when asked what were his former party mates’ reasons for jumping ship.
‘We wish them well’
Belmonte also said the 2019 elections is a factor in their departure. Still, Belmonte said the LP is not bearing any grudges against their ex-part mates.
“Basta we wish them well. And masakit din kasi parang pamilya na sila (And it is painful because they are like family),” said Belmonte.
The LP was a thriving party when its chairman Benigno Aquino III was president. Most of its members joined PDP-Laban, however, after Duterte won the 2016 polls. (READ: The Liberal Party and realpolitik in the House)
With the 4 lawmakers’ departure, the LP now only has 28 members left in the House.
Twenty-three of these LP legislators signed a coalition agreement with PDP-Laban, while the remaining 5 are part of the opposition bloc.
This is also the second time an LP member has switched alliances this year. In February, Camiguin Representative Xavier Jesus “XJ” Romualdo jumped ship to Lakas-CMD, the party of former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Their departure comes at a crucial time for the LP, with two impeachment complaints looming against Vice President Leni Robredo, the party chairperson.
Two groups – the tandem of Marcos loyalists Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez as well as the Impeach Leni Movement – are currently seeking a lawmaker who will endorse their impeachment complaints against Robredo. So far, no legislator has agreed to endorse any of the two complaints.
Any Filipino citizen may initiate impeachment proceedings against a public official, but the complaint must be endorsed by a lawmaker for it to be officially filed at the House. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?) – Rappler.com