FORMER President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo officially joined the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Arroyo used to be the former leader of Lakas-CMD party.
She is serving her third and final term as representative of the second district of Pampanga in the House of Representatives.
In July 2016, Arroyo was released from hospital detention after the Supreme Court voted for her acquittal from the plunder charge in relation to the alleged misuse of P336-million state lottery funds.
In the 17th Congress, Arroyo was elected House deputy speaker but she was stripped of the position last March after she voted against the death penalty bill, a measure backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Arroyo expressed support for Duterte on a number of occasions, most notably after she backed the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“My joining the PDP-Laban is to consolidate support for the President. It is a matter of course as we have been talking about this for quite some time.” Arroyo said in a statement.
Aside from Arroyo, former Agriculture secretary and now Bohol Representative Arthur Yap shifted allegiance to the PDP-Laban.
Yap was a member of the Nationalist People's Coalition since 2015. He was the Department of Agriculture secretary during Arroyo's term as president in 2004 to 2010.
Arroyo and Yap took their oaths before House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday, October 11.
Aside from Arroyo and Yap, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority administrator Raul Lambino, Camiguin Representative Xavier Jesus Romualdo, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman also took their oath as members of PDP-Laban.
Meanwhile, PDP-Laban President and Senate President Koko Pimentel said in a separate statement that the party is set to vet and choose their official candidates for the May 2019 national and local elections soon and will stop accepting new members by the end of November so they will have enough time to study their options.
"By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure," he said in the statement. (Keith A. Calayag/SunStar Philippines with JTD/SunStar Pampanga)
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on October 13, 2017.
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