June 28, 2010, 5:00pm
Manila Bulletin

World-renowned Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao put in practical use what he learned from a 10-day crash course on public administration by transferring to the party in power – the Liberal Party (LP).

Saying that he wanted to make sure that his home province will get a fair share of projects through congressional allotment, Pacquiao, who won the May 10 congressional elections in Sarangani under the Nacionalista Party (NP) banner, is expected to join the second batch of defectors to LP.

Pacquiao graduated last week from a 10-day course on Development Legislation and Governance given by the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Last Friday, 28 congressmen, mostly neophytes like Pacquiao, were sworn in as new members of LP, thus bringing to at least 62 the total number of party members in the Lower House.

Pacquiao and at least 12 more lawmakers were expected to take their oath as new partymates of President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III this week.

The boxing icon took his oath of office as congressman in Sarangani on Monday and is expected to be in Manila to be sworn in as LP member and to attend Aquino’s inaugural.

Pacquiao joined the NP as among the celebrity endorsers of party president, Senator Manuel Villar, during the May 10 election campaign.

However, a check on Pacquiao’s background in politics showed that he had originally committed to join the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi). He did not show up during his scheduled oath-taking as Kampi member but was later seen being sworn in as LP member, under the so-called Atienza wing headed by then Mayor Lito Atienza.

Pacquiao lost in his first bid for Congress when he ran against incumbent Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio in General Santos City, South Cotabato in 2007.

Pacquiao told local media in Sarangani that he had conferred with Villar before making his decision to join LP.

Except for Iloilo Rep. Ferjenel Biron, Pacquiao’s NP partymates in Congress, refused to comment on his decision to jump ship this early.

“That’s the dynamics of Philippine politics. I hope he will enjoy the new company,” said Biron.

By joining LP, Pacquiao will be supporting the candidacy of incoming Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte for speaker of the Lower House.

Aside from Pacquiao, Belmonte will also be enjoying the backing of NP members and the new LP solons who were sworn in as members last Friday. Among them are: Representatives-elect Maria Carmen Apsay of Compostela Valley, Amado Bagatsing of Manila, Maria Jocelyn Bernos of Abra, Jose Carlos Cari of Leyte, Max Dalog of Mt. Province, Rogelio Espina of Biliran, Salvio Fortuno of Camarines Sur, Mylene Garcia of Davao City, and Joeben Miraflores of Aklan.

Also joining LP are: Representatives-elect Joaquin Carlos Nava (Guimaras), Rene Relampagos (Bohol), Arturo Robes (San Jose del Monte, Bulacan), Herminia Roman (Bataan), Jesus Sacdalan (Cotabato), Andres Salvacion (Leyte), Mel Sarmiento (Samar), Eric Singson Jr. (Ilocos Sur), Marcelino Teodoro (Marikina City), Jerry Trenas (Iloilo), Rodolfo Valencia (Oriental Mindoro), Joseph Violago (Nueva Ecija), and Nelson Collantes of Batangas

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