Southern Leyte vice governor, provincial board member leave LP, join UNA
CEBU CITY — An official of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) announced on Thursday, the defection of administration allies in the Visayas.
UNA Secretary General JV Bautista said Southern Leyte officials led by Vice Governor Sheffered Tan and Provincial Board Member Albert Esclamado left the Liberal Party (LP) and joined their group.
“This is just the start of a series of public announcements where major candidates from different provinces in (the) different parts of the country announce having joined UNA and (are) openly endorsing the candidacy of Vice President (Jejomar) Jojo Binay in the coming elections,” Bautista told a news conference in Cebu City.
Tan and Esclamado are running for governor and vice governor in Southern Leyte against LP candidates, Rep. Damian Mercado of the province’s lone district and Councilor Coco Yap of Sogod town.
Incumbent Gov. Roger Mercado is running for congressman against UNA’s Rico Rentuza.
Suspended Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, the UNA Visayas coordinator, said announcements on the defection of LP allies in Cebu would be made at “the proper time and proper venue.”
Bautista said he chose Cebu City as venue to announce the LP defection because of Binay’s growing popularity in the Visayas.
Binay is the top presidential choice of the Visayans based on the result of the latest Pulse Asia Survey.
“We have taken the fight even at the door step of our primary adversarial camps from the Visayas,” Bautista said.
Bautista was joined by Tan, Esclamado, Rentuza and former Southern vice governor Miguel Maamo II, who is running for board member in Southern Leyte.
Bautista said he would be in Baguio City next week to make a formal announcement of political movements there before proceeding to Tacloban City in Leyte and Manila.
Tan explained LP mishandled political arrangements with members in Southern Leyte.
During the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) in October, LP members who were seeking elective posts were not endorsed by the administration party.
Tan pointed out that LP adopted the policy of equity of the incumbent.
But he said LP endorsed the candidacies of incumbent local officials even if they were not members of the administration party.
As a result, he added the original LP members became outcasts.
Tan cited his case as an example.
He said he had been an LP member since 2010 but LP chose to support the gubernatorial bid of Representative Mercado.
The Mercado brothers used to be with the National Unity Party but shifted to LP only in 2015.
When the Mercado brothers and Tan filed their CoCs in October, they all listed LP as their party.
A few days later, Tan bolted from LP to join UNA.
“We’re looking for a party that is loyal to us also,” Tan said in the press conference. (With a report from Jani Arnaiz, Inquirer Visayas). SFM
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