Bong, Martin to lead Lakas-CMD for 2016By Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has been named the new chairman of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), the ruling political party when its standard bearer former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was in power.
Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez will replace Revilla as new Lakas-CMD president.
Lakas-CMD elected a new set of officers on Tuesday to fill the vacuum created by the resignation of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who used to be the party’s chairman.
Romualdez said he and Revilla would work to strengthen and revitalize the party, and see to it that its candidates would be elected in May.
“The focus and main goal is to revitalize Lakas. What concerns other parties is their own lookout. We will strengthen the party and take it from there,” he said.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez earlier said that Lakas-CMD was seeking to strengthen the party in time for the 2016 elections, where it wants to play a significant role.
He said a revitalized Lakas would be to Revilla’s advantage because he could be the party’s standard bearer in 2016.
But Revilla said he has not made up his mind about taking a shot at the presidency in the 2016 polls, saying he wants to focus on the May elections first.
According to Revilla, he was not in a hurry to seek higher office, and such a thing could be a matter of destiny.
“It’s too early to call. We haven’t discussed that in the party. I am not in a hurry. I do believe in destiny. If it will come, it will come,” Revilla told reporters.
With new leaders at the helm, Lakas-CMD plans to endorse five senatorial candidates from President Aquino’s own Team PNoy during the 2013 polls and support another five senatorial candidates from the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
The selection of the candidates for endorsement would be entirely up to the party’s new leaders, with Arroyo having little say in the matter, according to its officials.
Lakas-CMD, which has no senatorial bets of its own, will announce the 10 names it would carry one month before the elections, according to Romualdez.
Arroyo, whom President Aquino has regularly criticized and blamed for the country’s woes, will not be involved in the party’s decision on who to endorse for the Senate, according to Revilla. The party will chart its own course under its new officials, he said.
Arroyo is a chairman emeritus of Lakas-CMD, along with former President Fidel Ramos. She is the party’s candidate for the second district of Pampanga where she is running for reelection.
“The party’s decision when it comes to that aspect would be made by the executive committee. The chairmen emeritus are the elders, but they won’t meddle in the party’s decision,” Revilla said in a press briefing.
“I believe that since there’s already a new leadership, the new leadership has been given trust and confidence by the party elders to decide on this, so I think we can now move forward,” he said.—With a report from Cathy Yamsuan