THE flexing of muscles of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) that allegedly cancelled the scheduled Tawi-Tawi visit of Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero is just the beginning, lawmakers said on Friday.
Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian and Silvestre Bello 3rd of 1-BAP party-list were referring to the joint statement made by Poe and Escudero on Thursday that their invitation to attend the Foundation Day of Tawi-Tawi on Sunday, made by local officials Gov. Nurbert Sahali and Congresswoman Ruby Sahali, was withdrawn due to political reasons.
“It’s already the political season. Expect more actions like these,” Gatchalian said in a text message.
“It is a clear sign that the LP is in panic. They resort to foul tactics just (so) their candidate(s) [could]get some votes,” Bello added.
Poe and Escudero, who are both running for President and Vice President respectively in 2016, do not belong to the ruling LP.
LP’s Presidential bet, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government, tried but failed in recruiting Poe to be his running mate.
“It’s really up to the one who invited whether they will heed to the instructions of their party or not. If they are doing anything wrong, then they can insist of the invitation,” Gatchalian, who is expected to run for the Senate in 2016 under the Poe-Escudero ticket, added.
LP members/Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. of Quezon City and Reps. Jerry Treñas of Iloilo City denied that LP had a hand in canceling Poe and Escudero’s Tawi-Tawi stop.
“I don’t believe LP applied pressure. It’s up to the locals [to decide on whether to pursue such invitations to non-LP members]. They can use their wise judgment,” Belmonte, the Vice Chairman of the ruling LP, said in a separate talk.
“The Liberal Party has not and will not stop any LGU (local government unit) from inviting anyone, including Senators who are candidates for President or Vice President. It is not our policy to do that,” Treñas added.
Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting, on the other hand, chided Poe and Escudero for being too sensitive.
“I don’t think this should be looked at in a political way. There can be many reasons why they cancelled. This happened to Vice President Binay’s visits too and out of respect, the Vice President accepted their reasons without malice,” Tambunting said.
Tambunting is a member of the United Nationalist Alliance led by Vice President Jejomar Binay.