Ex-Poe backer, Ex-LP solon tagged as 2019 Duterte senate bets
VICTORIAS CITY—Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday bragged that the now ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would control the Senate after the 2019 elections with candidates that he said would surely be elected because they adhere to the principles of President Duterte, among them Representatives Alfredo Benitez and Geraldine Roman.
Alvarez named Benitez and Roman at a rally here for the mass oath-taking of new members of PDP-Laban, a party that rose from near anonymity to being sought after.
The oath-taking of hundreds of politicians and officials in Negros Occidental marked a political transition being replicated nationwide. The province used to be dominated by Liberal Party (LP), which had been in power under former President Benigno Aquino III. LP candidate Mar Roxas won in the presidential elections in the province.
At least 10,000 community leaders took their oaths as new PDP-Laban members before Alvarez at the Victorias Coliseum here. At past noon, at least 4,000 other leaders took oaths at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos in Bacolod.
They would be tapped to push the campaign for a federal form of government that would be in full swing next year, said Yves Akol, PDP-Laban Negros Occidental secretary general.
Two local political groups—United Negros Alliance led by Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Love Negros led by Benitez—had already shifted loyalty to PDP-Laban. Benitez had supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. Grace Poe.
During his speech, Alvarez said the Duterte administration was under attack by those “who cannot accept defeat” and want to derail the President’s efforts to fulfill his promise to bring about change.
“We will not allow them to succeed. We will do everything to deliver the promises made by the President,” Alvarez said.
“We will deliver them come hell or high water,” the Speaker said.
Obstacle in Senate
Alvarez said the House had passed 180 measures but less than 10 had been acted upon by the Senate where there were opposition senators.
“In 2019, I am asking you, if you fully support the President, support the candidates of PDP-Laban for the Senate,” he said, with a 12-0 vote.
Among the senatorial candidates were Benitez, the third richest man in the House, and Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.
But Benitez said he had not fully decided whether to run for senator or not since he was still getting the pulse of the people by going around the country.
Roman, who ran as an LP candidate, said she shifted to PDP-Laban because of its advocacy to change the form of government into federal.
Roman also cited the party’s commitment to support the President’s fight against drugs and criminality.
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