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500 members take mass leave from LP

DAET, Camarines Norte—About 500 members of the Liberal Party (LP) in Camarines Norte province voted to take a “mass leave of absence” from the ruling party in support of Gov. Edgardo A. Tallado, who was expelled from the party on June 15 for immorality.

Wearing the only yellow shirt in the assembly held on Monday at Camarines Norte Little Theater, Vice Gov. Jonah Pimentel, the vice chair of the LP chapter in Camarines Norte, received a resounding “yes” when he read the resolution for them to leave en masse from the Camarines Norte chapter.

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Soon after, some 500 LP members voted to take the mass leave, Pimentel changed his yellow shirt to a white one as he continued to preside over the LP assembly.

During the same meeting, six of the mayors of the 12-town Camarines Norte declared their support for Tallado.

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The Camarines Norte LP general assembly also renounced the appointment of Daet Mayor Tito Sarion as the officer in charge provincial chair of the LP in this province.

It was the complaint filed by Sarion before the LP national directorate that led to Tallado’s expulsion. He accused Tallado of immorality in the wake of the governor’s marital scandal, which exploded in the news and social media in October last year.

The LP said it decided to expel Tallado for having “committed a grossly immoral act that has not only cast doubt on his moral integrity but also tarnished the good name and reputation of the LP as a whole.”

The expulsion order was signed by Josephine Ramirez-Sato, LP director general; Alfonso Umali, LP treasurer; Mel Senen Sarmiento, LP secretary general; Jerry Treñas, LP chair of membership and organizing committee; Edgardo Erice, LP chair of political and electoral affairs committee; and Leonardo Javier, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines.

Tallado, who arrived unnoticed at the venue after the “mass leave of absence” voting was concluded, wore a green shirt and denim pants.

Yellow, representing the color of the LP and the Aquino administration, was the color of the shirts of Tallado and Pimentel until the expulsion of the governor two weeks ago.

With Tallado now out of the LP, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, who joined the LP during the 2010 presidential elections, is the only remaining administration governor left in the Bicol region.

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Tallado said he respected the decision of the LP national directorate to oust him from the party and stressed that he would continue to support President Aquino and thanked him for the projects that Malacañang had brought to his province.

Sarion, reached on the phone on Tuesday, only said “no comment” when sought for a reaction to the mass leave as well as the refusal of the LP provincial members to accept him as their new party leader in the province.

The six mayors who signed the resolution informing the LP national leadership of their decision to go on mass leave were Romeo Davocol of Basud, Alex Pajarillo of Mercedes, Dina Borja of Sta. Elena, Radamer Herrera of Vinzons, Joseph Ascutia of Labo and Ronnie Magana of Talisay.

The other LP members in the assembly included vice mayors, municipal councilors and village chiefs from the 12 towns of Camarines Norte led by the province’s Association of Barangay Council president, Benito Ochoa.

Camarines Norte has 291,295 registered voters in the 2013 midterm elections in 282 barangays in six Bicol-speaking towns and six Tagalog-speaking towns.

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