PFP, Lakas ink pact sans other ‘UniTeam’ players

PFP, Lakas ink pact sans other ‘UniTeam’ players

PFP, Lakas ink pact sans other ‘UniTeam’ players


MANILA, Philippines — A year shy of the 2025 midterm polls, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) entered into a preelection alliance with the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) of his cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez, creating what the latter described as “the most powerful political force in our country today.”

But the renewal of the coalition that dominated the 2022 elections was missing some of the power players of the former “UniTeam” campaign, notably Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte, who, until May last year, had served as chair of Lakas-CMD.


READ: Lakas-CMD strength in House now 100 as three solons join


Also relegated to the sidelines was former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who kept a muted presence during Wednesday’s event at Manila Polo Club in Makati City.

Romualdez said the new Alyansa para sa Bagong Pilipinas (alliance for the new Philippines) embodied the coming together of the de facto ruling party and the biggest political bloc in the House of Representatives.

“The Alyansa para sa Bagong Pilipinas brings together the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas and the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats, forming the most powerful political force in our country today,” he said.

“Our strength is not only in our numbers but in our shared resolve to enact substantial and lasting change throughout the Philippines,” the House leader said.

During his speech, Marcos stressed the need for unity and a whole-of-government approach to achieving the goal of a new Philippines.

“I was asked before: What is my dream for the Philippines? My answer was simple, no more hunger. It is simple, but we have not yet achieved that aspiration,” he said.


READ: No ‘fight’ anymore? Duterte-led PDP officially drops ‘Laban’ from name

Covenant signing

The President went on: “But if we stay united, if we maintain that unity not only for election purposes but all through the work of service, then we will continue to be met with success. We will continue to be met with the progress that we dreamed of for a Bagong Pilipinas.”

He witnessed the signing of the preelection covenant between the Partido Federal, which he chairs, and Lakas-CMD, whose president is Romualdez, to “work to attain the vision and goal of the administration” and to “pave the way for strength and continued positive change.”

Marcos said the team-up between his party and that of his cousin was in preparation for next year’s elections, with their bets poised to file their certificates of candidacy by October.

“This is in preparation for that. We must remind ourselves why we are doing this alliance. We are doing this because we need unity. We need to be united because it is the only solution to the problems of Philippine society,” the President said.

Besides the cousins, the other signatories were Lakas-CMD chair and Sen. Bong Revilla, Lakas-CMD executive vice president and Zamboanga Rep. Manuel Dalipe, Partido Federal president and South Cotabato Gov. Reynaldo Tamayo; special assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo, and Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos, the President’s son.

Prior to the signing of the pact, the President was spotted shaking hands and posing for pictures with Arroyo, the chair emeritus of Lakas-CMD.

Falling out

During the program, only Romualdez spoke on behalf of the party, while Arroyo, his former mentor, sat in the audience.

In 2023, Arroyo fell from grace and lost two key positions in the chamber after falling out with the Speaker over rumors that she was orchestrating another coup for the House leadership.

In May last year, she lost the title of House senior deputy speaker and was demoted as one of the House’s deputy speakers. Arroyo then said the move was the “prerogative of the House.”

Sara’s Hugpong

A few days later, Duterte — a key ally of Arroyo — resigned from Lakas-CMD as its chair and member without explanation. Duterte, however, is still the leader of the regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago party, based in Davao City.

In November, Arroyo and another Duterte ally, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, were removed as deputy speakers after they did not sign a House resolution that took exception to the attacks by Duterte’s father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, against the House.

The older Duterte had criticized Romualdez and the House leadership for stripping his daughter’s offices of P125 million in confidential funds for 2024.

Lakas-CMD has 100 members in the House, while Partido Federal claims to host 45 percent of all local chief executives across the country, according to Tamayo.

“Merging these two will create a powerful alliance from the legislative to the executive,” he said.

Romualdez said the alliance was still in the process of forming a senatorial lineup, adding that it was expecting a full 12-member slate.

Revilla, for his part, said Alyansa was seeking out other political parties to join the coalition.

Asked about the potential inclusion of Duterte’s Hugpong in Alyansa, Revilla said it was “open” for discussion.

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“After all, Vice President Inday is still close with Marcos. Hopefully. That’s everyone’s wishes,” Revilla said in a chance interview.

TAGS: CMD, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Lakas-CMD, Martin Romualdez, PFP

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