Alvarez invites Iloilo governor to join PDP-Laban
ILOILO CITY — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez openly invited Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor to join the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling part.
But he was still noncommittal about inviting Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, whom President Rodrigo Duterte had accused of being involved in illegal drugs.
Alvarez twice called on Defensor to join the party on Sunday, during a mass oath-taking of 4,000 new members of the PDP-Laban at the Iloilo Convention Center.
Alvarez said having Defensor join the party would help accelerate the implementation of government projects in Iloilo province.
Defensor, who was on the stage with other officials, including his son, Iloilo Rep. Arthur Defensor Jr., is a member of the Liberal Party (LP).
Asked by reporters on his attendance, the governor said he was not there to take his oath as a new party member. He was merely invited.
Mabilog was also on the stage and spoke briefly. But he said he was there as a “witness” and as observer.
The mayor left the LP recently, saying he would want to be an independent.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, also an LP leader and an ally of Mabilog, bolted the LP and joined PDP-Laban about a week after the May 9 elections.
Asked in a press conference if he had invited Mabilog to join PDP-Laban, Alvarez said: “There is a process in the party. We are checking everything.”
Pressed for details, Alvarez said: “Si Presidente kasi may listahan – masterlist nong involved sa illegal drugs. Kailanganan ma-clear muna siya.”
(“The President has a list, a masterlist of those involved in illegal drugs. He needs to be cleared.”)
But Alvarez said he did not know if Mabilog had been cleared or if he was still in the list.
“Everyone who is not on the list is welcome [to join the party],” Alvarez said.
On Aug. 7 last year, rhe President tagged Mabilog among the government officials involved in illegal drugs. /atm
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