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Masbate political rivals unite under PDP-Laban

/ 05:15 AM August 16, 2017
SHOW OF FORCE Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (fifth from left) administers the oath of office to new members of the administration party PDP-Laban in Masbate province.

SHOW OF FORCE Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III (fifth from left) administers the oath of office to new members of the administration party PDP-Laban in Masbate province. MARS.ARGUELLES

MASBATE CITY — Long-time political rivals in Masbate province are now under a single political party after Gov. Antonio Kho and his allies joined the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, also president of PDP-Laban, said when Kho approached him to signify his intention to join PDP-Laban, he told the governor to consult with Mario Espinosa, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general for Bicol region, and a member of the Espinosa political clan in the province.

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Masbate, one of the two island provinces in Bicol, has been classified as an area of concern during elections due to intense political rivalries among the Espinosa, Kho, Seachon-Lanete and Bravo families.

Pimentel said Espinosa approved Kho’s entry to PDP-Laban. Kho used to belong to the Nacionalista Party.

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Pimentel administered the oath of office to 35,000 new members of PDP-Laban in Masbate led by Kho, the province’s representatives and mayors from 21 towns at the Masbate Sports Arena on Sunday.

“[This] is a record-breaking event for the party—this has outnumbered the oath taking ceremonies held in other provinces,” he said.

“The unification in Masbate will make the province a shooting star for the next story of LGU (local government unit) development in Philippine history,” he said.

Espinosa, a former vice governor, was on the verge of tears when he told the crowd that his family members were victims of intense political rivalries in the province. His father Moises, brother Moises Jr., and uncle Tito had been murdered by assassins allegedly hired by their political rivals.

“I told Governor Kho that I would support his political career provided he gave me a free hand in doing business in the province,” Espinosa said.

Pimentel said PDP-Laban would support the call of President Duterte to change the 1987 Constitution and transform the system of government from unitary form to federal type. —Mar S. Arguelles

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TAGS: Antonio Kho, Aquilino Pimentel III, Mario Espinosa, Masbate politics, PDP-Laban
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