By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:34:00 10/11/2009
MANILA, Philippines – Eight Liberal Party congressmen have jumped over to the administration’s Lakas-Kampi-CMD coalition, citing the lack of unity within the LP.
On Friday, the eight lawmakers took their oath to their new party.
They were Representatives Mary Mitzi Cajayon of Caloocan City, Magtanggol Gunigundo of Valenzuela, Jose Antonio Roxas of Pasay City, Alvin Sandoval of Malabon-Navotas, Glenn Chong of Biliran, Solomon Chungalao of Ifugao, Reynaldo Uy of Western Samar, and, Rodolfo Valencia of Oriental Mindoro.
Gunigundo said two more lawmakers, Laguna Representative Evita Arago and Northern Samar Representative Paul Daza, were supposed to join them at the oath-taking but were unable to come. Daza was at the national budget hearing, while Arago was attending to her flooded district.
The lawmakers cited the disunity within the LP and the credentials of Lakas-Kampi standard-bearer Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro as the factors that convinced them to join the new party.
Except for Chong, the eight are part of the LP faction allied with Environment Secretary Lito Atienza and which is supportive of President Macapagal-Arroyo. The other faction is led by former Sen. Franklin Drilon who is supporting the candidacy for president of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
But LP spokesman and Quezon Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III dismissed the defections, saying that it was not a big deal, because of the eight lawmakers only Chong was still a party member.
Tañada said the rest filed their certificates of candidacy in 2007 as Lakas candidates, except for Roxas, who ran under the United Opposition.
“Their oath-taking with Lakas has no bearing with the Liberal Party. In this equation, we just lost one representative. We would like to wish Representative Chong all the best,” he said.
Tañada also said local politics was a factor in the lawmakers’ decision, and this showed the weakness of the country’s political system.
Cajayon, speaking at the Kapihan sa Sulo forum, said the group’s decision was reached after the Liberal Party failed to unite. There was also a feeling that the Atienza faction was not welcome in the party, she said.