Lawmakers ‘left out in the cold’ now eyeing to leave PDP-Laban

MANILA, Philippines – Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya said a “handful” of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) members are now eyeing to jump ship to other political parties in time for the 2019 polls.

Camarines Sur 1st District Representative Andaya, himself a PDP-Laban lawmaker, told Rappler several of his party mates in the House of Representatives felt they have been “left out in the cold” despite being among the first politicians to join the ruling party in 2016.

“When in the beginning, they were the first batch to join the party, a lot of the congressmen were later left out in the cold,” said Andaya in Filipino during a phone interview. 

He made the clarification when asked if PDP-Laban lawmakers are now seeking to join Lakas-CMD, the former party of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo before she joined PDP-Laban.

“Not really Lakas, but look for different options for the upcoming elections,” said Andaya.

He said the “tipping point” was Arroyo’s takeover of the speakership. But there has been a growing discontent among district representatives allied with President Rodrigo Duterte’s party for a long time.  

“The problem was, the first batch of leaders that came in to PDP-Laban were congressmen because they first needed to elect a Speaker for them to have a leader from the ruling party. They were massive recruitments in the lower chamber. They were able to elect Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez,” Andaya explained in Filipino.

Alvarez, whom Arroyo unseated in a dramatic House coup, is PDP-Laban’s secretary-general. (READ: Alvarez concedes to Speaker Arroyo)

But after the initial surge of recruitment among lawmakers, Andaya said the ruling party supposedly kept them out of making major party decisions.

“When they started going out to different provinces, a lot of these congressmen were feeling left out. They were not part of the decision-making process. PDP had their own strict, internal rules on choosing who will be provincial leaders, regional leaders,” said Andaya.  

He clarified Arroyo is not planning to move out of PDP-Laban for now, but he pointed out that the former president is just a regular member of the administration party.

“If PDP wants to make the adjustments and give her a higher rank considering she is now the Speaker, it’s up to them,” said Andaya, who also said he has not decided whether or not to stick with PDP-Laban. 

Possible alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago? 

Andaya said some of his colleagues are also considering coalescing with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional party formed by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

Sources said she had lobbied for the removal of Alvarez., She said her father and the country are better off without Alvarez. Duterte Carpio’s beef with with the ousted speaker began when Alvarez reportedly said she formed HNP without Duterte’s blessing.

But Andaya explained it will not be strategic for all discontented PDP-Laban lawmakers to move to HNP as it is merely a regional party. 

This means that the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) from HNP would not be recognized in other regions during the 2019 polls.  

‘Yong accreditation ng Hugpong is only regional, so if I’m a congressman from the state of the north, wa-epek sa akin ‘yon. It won’t be recognized in my area. As an example lang, Lakas could be one of them,” said Andaya.

(The accreditation of Hugpong is only for a regional party, so if I’m a congressman from the state of the north, that won’t have an effect on me. It won’t be recognized in my area. As an example, Lakas could be one of them.)

What the other national political parties can do is just form an alliance with HNP, with the bigger party issuing the CONA for the lawmakers who will jump ship.

“If there’s an opportunity to do that, Lakas would take that option. But I’m not saying they are the only ones who can do it. But it takes two to coalesce,” said Andaya.

"In the end, all politics is local," he added. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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