Peter Laviña

The ABCs (Activities, Beliefs and Campaigns) of City Councilor Peter Tiu Laviña of Davao City, Philippines. This blog started on March 9, 2006.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Real Liberals

Here is a tit-for-tat in the cleansing of the Liberal Party.

Senate President and Liberal Party head Franklin Drilon announced last Friday the ouster of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, former party chair, and four other LP officials from the party roll of members after they were "deemed resigned."

"This is the best thing that ever happened to the Liberal Party. Now, the entire Filipino nation can tell who among us joined the Liberal Party for political convenience and who joined for principles and conviction," Drilon said.

I was a guest at the Cavite LP Chapter General Assembly held at the General Trias Convention Center and I witnessed the party shake up.

Drilon also announced the replacement of those deemed resigned from the party. Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan replaced Atienza as LP national chair while Capiz Gov. Vic Bermejo replaced Antique Gov. Sally Perez as vice president for the Visayas.

The three others dropped from the party roll held no party positions. They were Secretary Mike Defensor, Northern Samar Rep. Harlin Cast-Abayon and Batangas Gov. Armand Sanchez.

Capiz Gov. Bermejo was not at the assembly but Iloilo Gov. Neil Tupas was there along with Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Pong Biazon, 8 congressional representatives and local officials from other cities and provinces.

At the same time, Drilon lashed at GMA and her allies for attempting to steal the Liberal Party. "President Arroyo, who has yet to answer charges that she stole the last elections, is now trying to steal the Liberal Party,” he said. Drilon was referring to the rump assembly held at the Manila Hotel last March 2 where GMA inducted a so-called “new set of LP officials.”

Drilon described them “Mga Lakas Pala (LP) sila.” "More than just a name, the Liberal Party is a principled spirit that stands firmly against tyranny or when our democracy is threatened. Even if they try to steal our name, Atienza and the Malacañang puppets can never be considered true liberals," Drilon asserted.

“Sa inyo na ang Manila City Hall, amin ang Cavite!” thundered the Senate and LP President to the cheers of more than 3,000 Caviteno local officials and sectoral leaders headed by Gov. Ayong Maliksi. It was a paraphrase of a popular movie – Sa iyo ang Tondo, akin ang Cavite! - that featured a famous movie star from this province.

Drilon also announced other changes in the LP list of officers. Elected as new LP vice chair was Tarlac Rep. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III and as new executive vice president was Sen. Mar Roxas.

Former Education Secretary Butch Abad was elevated to the post of vice president for Platforms, Policies and Advocacies.

Bukidnon Rep. Neric Acosta, erstwhile Executive VP, will now serve as secretary- general.

Among those who supported the move to oust Atienza and company from the party were members of the National Political Council and three past LP presidents namely Abad, Northern Samar Gov. Raul Daza, and former Senator Wigberto Tanada.

LP Director General Chit Asis said Drilon has been getting support from LP chapters in the provinces as well as from the party’s allied organizations. She said they comprised an overwhelming majority of the LP.

(Submitted as Signs of the Times column article for Mindanao Times for March 20, 2006)

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