MANILA—Eleven officers and members of ruling Liberal Party (LP) on Thursday joined the exodus of politicians making a beeline for the PDP-Laban, the party of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Fourteen lawmakers, 11 of them from LP, took their oath before prospective Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez in a simple ceremony at Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.
Leading the pack of those who jumped ship from the ruling party were Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, chair of LP’s membership and organizing committee, Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
Sarmiento heads the House transportation committee while Umali chairs the energy panel.
Just two days before they took their oath as new members of PDP-Laban, , Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., appealed to Alvarez to treat LP as other political parties who express support to his speakership bid not to raid the ruling party membership.
Following the May 9 polls, incoming Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban vice chair Alfonso Cusi said the party’s membership in the House of Representatives have swelled to around 60 lawmakers from the original three, including Alvarez.
Alvarez, Duterte’s chosen candidate for Speaker in the 17th Congress, said he expected their ranks to grow bigger in the coming days.
“I think we’ll be hitting a membership of around 80 or 100,” he said.
The other LP lawmakers who participated in the oath-taking ceremony were Deogracias Ramos Jr. of Sorsogon, Ma Lucille Nava of Guimaras, Lucy Torres Gomez of Leyte, Glona Labadlabad of Zamboanga del Norte, Jesus Sacdalan of North Cotabato and Zajid Mangudadatu of Maguindanao, Renato Unico of Camarines Norte,and newly elected Queenie Gonzales of Mandaluyong City, wife of Majority Floor Leader Boyet Gonzales who joined Belmonte in a press conference last Tuesday .
To complete the latest exodus, Nationalist People’s Coalition stalwarts Sandra Eriguel of Laguna, and Arnolfo Teves Jr. of Negros Oriental, and National Unity Party member Vicente Sofronio Veloso of Leyte joined the exodus.