Defection of entire Visayas LP seen
BACOLOD CITY—One of the richest members of Congress is the newest member of the emerging ruling party, PDP-Laban, which is drawing into its fold the entire Visayas bloc of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party (LP).
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, one of the House of Representatives’ richest members, took his oath as a PDP-Laban member on Tuesday.
He said he expected the entire Visayas bloc of LP to become members of PDP-Laban, the party of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte.
Benitez is former chair of the LP in Negros Occidental province, who opted to seek reelection as an independent candidate in the last elections after a falling out with top LP leaders, including the party’s defeated presidential candidate, Mar Roxas.
Benitez had supported the presidential bid of Sen. Grace Poe, who had been rumored as the second option of President Aquino in the presidential elections.
Benitez was in Victorias City, Negros Occidental, on Wednesday for a thanksgiving party for his political supporters at the Victorias Coliseum.
Benitez said he sees LP members in the Visayas taking their oath as PDP-Laban members next week.
“I wonder who will be the minority with everyone in the majority,” said Benitez, as different political parties have joined the Duterte bandwagon.
“The mandate has been given to presumptive President-elect Duterte so it is about time that we join forces and help in nation-building,” he said.
Benitez pointed out that the Visayan bloc members had already signed a manifesto of support for Duterte and the speakership bid of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of PDP-Laban.
“We, the members of the Visayan Bloc, extend our cooperation and support to the incoming Duterte administration in its pursuit of the development and enactment of propeople and developmental policies and programs for our country,” the manifesto read.
Benitez pointed out that the Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition and Lakas-NUCD had all issued separate manifestos of support for the incoming Duterte administration.
Many from the LP, he added, were also joining PDP-Laban. “With the elections over, it is time to unite for the sake of the country,” said Benitez.
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