• GMA party-mates to bolt Lakas

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    AFTER being junked by his party-mates during the speakership race, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte is now considering leaving the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, the political party of former president Gloria Arroyo. Romualdez is the Lakas-CMD president.

    Former congressman Danilo Suarez of Quezon, the Lakas-CMD chairman for Luzon, said that Romualdez considered resigning from Lakas after he lost the House minority leader post to Rep. Ronaldo Zamora of San Juan via a 19-16 vote. Eight Lakas members did not vote for Romualdez.

    “Martin is contemplating on resigning as Lakas president. He told me about it when he lost the vote. If the eight Lakas members voted for him, he will corner at least 14 votes from Lakas alone. There are 11 others who voted for him from party-list groups. That would be 25. We could have won,” Suarez said.

    Romualdez and Zamora lost the speakership race to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of the ruling Liberal Party who got an overwhelming 245 votes. Under House rules, the person who will secure the second most number of votes in the race will be the House Minority Leader.

    “In the political world, if you don’t have the trust of your members, you will resign. It’s like being in a company. If you don’t have the trust of the board members, you will step down,” Suarez said.

    Suarez revealed that the National Union Party (NUP), mostly composed of former Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party members, has been recruiting Romualdez for over a year now.

    Kampi was founded by former President Arroyo in the 90s, while NUP is a new party which is a part of the Majority Coalition in the House of Representatives supportive of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    “Of course, those who voted for him don’t want him to resign because it could lead to the party’s collapse. If he leaves Lakas, I think I might have to join him,” Suarez said.

    He admitted that being a Lakas member is getting more difficult because Arroyo, the party’s Chairman Emeritus, has been under hospital arrest for more than a year now for plunder. Arroyo is the representative of the second district of Pampanga.

    “Her being detained is one of the reasons [that people might leave], plus the fact that if you are identified with Lakas, you don’t get the support of the administration,” Suarez said.

    Rep. Elipido Barzaga of Dasmariñas City, the NUP’s Vice President for External Affairs, confirmed that they are recruiting Romualdez and many others.

    “We are willing to accept new members, provided that they are willing to be a part of the ruling coalition. They have to support the legislative agenda of the Speaker and the President,” Barzaga said in a separate telephone interview.

    Barzaga is a former member of the Kampi party.

    “We see our members being more useful and serving their constituencies better under NUP. The recruitment does not only extend to Martin, but also for other House members who are not affiliated with the Majority or Minority bloc thus far,” Barzaga said.

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