Several Liberal Party members in the Davao provinces were chided yesterday for abandoning their standard-bearer, former local government secretary Manuel Roxas II, in favor of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
“It is very disheartening to hear that these party mates of Secretary Mar have abandoned him. As party members, they were expected to support the party’s candidates,” Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite said.
Barzaga is vice president of the National Unity Party but has declared his support for Roxas.
He said the decision of a group of LP members in the Davao provinces to switch support to Duterte does not speak well of political parties and their members.
“Sad to say, we still have a weak political party system. It is always a party of convenience and personalities and not of principles,” he said.
He said politicians, regardless of party affiliations, tend to support the more popular presidential candidate.
He added that the same politicians join the political party of the winning candidate after the latter is proclaimed.
Barzaga noted that LP members were just a minority when President Aquino won in 2010.
After Aquino was declared winner, there was a beeline of politicians applying for membership in the new ruling party, he said.
Davao politicians, led by a governor who had expressed his support for Roxas, have reportedly jumped ship and joined Duterte’s camp.
Like Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay has lost some followers to the tough-talking Davao City mayor. One of them is businessman Antonio Floirendo Jr., who is seeking to reclaim the congressional seat he held for nine years.
Binay has described political party switching as a “reality” in Philippine politics.
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo advocated yesterday the amendment of the Election Code so that all election-related activities before and during the campaign period would be regulated.
She told a news conference that while the law regulates such activities during the campaign period, there is no such regulation before the official campaign.
Thus, she said presidential, vice presidential and senatorial candidates in the May 9, 2016 polls are now free to place advertisements on radio and television, and go on campaign sorties.
“This situation is anomalous,” she said.
She said the tens of millions spent by candidates before the official campaign would not be counted as part of their allowable election-related expenses.
She added that there are several bills pending in the House that seek to change the law.
As for her exposure strategy, she has asked people helping her to package her as she is.
She said Sen. Serge Osmeña, who is helping her with her strategy, agrees with her.
She also said she would like to handle food security in case she and her standard-bearer Mar Roxas win in May.
“I want to handle it as a specific program whose results are immediately measurable. Food security is related to easing hunger and poverty. I don’t want it to be a Cabinet-level job,” she said.
Robredo revealed that her staff is now experimenting on a poverty alleviation program that targets a small group of farmers in her Camarines Sur district.
She said the farmers, who earn only about P1,800 a month, are being helped to access credit and other support facilities and modern farming methods.
The 13 million-strong National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) has forged an alliance with the LP and pledged its support for Roxas and Robredo.
The COOP-NATCCO, the party-list group of the confederation, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the LP on Monday at the party’s headquarters in Cubao, Quezon City to formalize its support.
Roxas and COOP-NATCCO party-list Rep. Cresente Paez, who is a senatorial candidate of the administration coalition, witnessed the signing of the MOU.
“I’d like to convey my deepest thanks for the COOP-NATCCO for accepting our invitation to be partners to push for daang matuwid (straight path) in the coming elections,” Roxas said.
Palace hits Binay
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said as far as Malacañang is concerned, it is Vice President Jejomar Binay who has been “flip-flopping” on several issues involving government policy as he continues “sour-graping” after President Aquino didn’t endorse him as the administration’s presidential candidate.
“He’s Mr. Flip-flop. Because he was not endorsed by the President, he changed his tune all the way. He’s sour-graping, he was not endorsed by the President. He has not even answered the allegations of corruption against him,” said Lacierda.
“Five years he was with us, and five years he was praising the President, he was all praises for the President. Now that he was not endorsed by the President, what do you expect him to say? Do you expect him to toe the administration’s line?” he asked.
“Do you expect him to toe the gains that we have done under daang matuwid? He spoke glowingly about the GDP, about the investment grade ratings before. Now, he’s criticizing all that. What’s flip-flopping by the way?” Lacierda stressed.
Lacierda issued the statement following the pronouncements made by Binay, leader of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance, that Aquino seemed to have been flip-flopping on his stand regarding the reduction of income taxes, aside from the absence of inclusive growth.
He clarified that Aquino was for the reduction of taxes, but that incurring losses from such revenues will adversely affect the country’s fiscal position, which is why there has to be a comprehensive study on how to go about the matter. – With Paolo Romero, Delon Porcalla