PALAYAN City, Nueva Ecija: The political machine revved up in Nueva Ecija as stalwarts of the ruling coalition Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN) came here Wednesday to consolidate forces ahead of the 2019 elections.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led the mass oath-taking of 4,870 new PDP-Laban members from the province’s 27 towns and five cities, including village chairmen and councilors.
They broke away from Unang Sigaw ng Nueva Ecija and Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane), which recently joined forces. The former was founded by a former governor, Aurelio Umali, while the latter was led by the Joson political clan.
“We are building up a force to defeat old politics,” said Virgilio Bote, PDP-Laban provincial president and vice president for Luzon, who arranged the event. “We will help the President to realize his goal to fight corruption in the government as well the drug problem in the country.”
Bote and his partymates are expected to challenge the Umali-Joson alliance in the 2019 polls. The Josons have ruled the province for half a century while the Umalis rose to prominence in the last decade.
When Umali completed his third and final term as governor, his wife Czarina succeeded him. Umali however failed in his bid to secure a congressional seat.
Cagayan Economic Zone chief Raul Lambino led the “ Basic Orientation Seminar on Federalism” for local and village officials.
Alvarez swore in three congressmen, two provincial board members and nine incumbent mayors and vice mayors, some of them former members of the Liberal Party and the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
The new PDP-Laban members were led by Rep. Ria Vergara, Rep. Miki Violago, Rep. Estrelita Suansing, Board Members Edward Joson and Jojo Matias, Cabanatuan City Mayor Jay Vegara, Councilor Ej Joson, Palayan City Mayor Rianne Cuevas, San Jose City Mayor Mario Salvador, town mayors Ricardo Padilla (Bongabon), Allan Gamilla (Bongabon), Gonzalo Moreno (Aliaga), Ronnie Pascual (Llanera), Lito Andres (Rizal), Alex Dauz (Laur), Marita Angeles (Santa Rosa), Nerito Santos Jr. (Talavera) and former Cuyapo mayor Amado Corpuz.
Alvarez shrugged off talk of a “revolutionary government” among Duterte supporters.
“We may talk about it when it is already there,” he told reporters.