Petilla brothers of Leyte abandon Liberal Party
TACLOBAN CITY — Former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has left the Liberal Party (LP), the political party that carried his senatorial bid during the 2016 elections, to join President Rodrigo Duterte’s party.
Petilla, who was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III to lead the Department of Energy (DOE) during the latter’s administration, took his oath as member of the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) last week with his younger brother, Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.
The Petilla brothers joined the mass oath-taking of new PDP-Laban members officiated by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, also PDP-Laban president, on Aug. 2.
Jericho Petilla said Senate secretary Lutgardo Barbo, a former governor of Eastern Samar province and one of the PDP-Laban stalwarts, invited them to join the administration party.
Petilla was serving as Leyte governor in October 2012 when Aquino appointed him to his first national post as energy secretary.
In June 2015, Petilla resigned his DOE post to prepare for the campaign under the LP ticket.
But Petilla failed to make it to the top 12 winning candidates. He placed 18th, with more than 6.8 million votes, in a field of 50 candidates.
Petilla said he decided to join PDP-Laban to ensure that Leyte would get the needed attention and assistance from the Duterte administration. The President’s late mother had relatives in the neighboring province of Southern Leyte.
“Politically, we can survive. However, how can the province ask for assistance if we are not politically aligned with the administration?” Petilla asked. “It is a decision that is actually not only good for us but more so, for the province.”
Petilla, however, dismissed reports that he joined PDP-Laban in preparation for the 2019 midterm elections or to clinch an appointment to the Cabinet.
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