THE One Cebu Party welcomes to the fold of President Rodrigo Duterte’s coalition for change the thousands of officials and leaders who will take their oaths as members of PDP-Laban on Friday.

In a press statement, One Cebu said it was the original partner of PDP-Laban in Cebu since the May 2016 elections.

Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia and her brother, former congressman Pablo John F. Garcia, are the co-founder/president emeritus and secretary general of One Cebu, respectively.

They said that consolidating all political forces in Cebu is the political masterstroke of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Lloyd Dino.

After the May 2016 elections, those who will take oath as members of the PDP-Laban have seen the light and switched their support from their old parties and loyalties to the Duterte administration and PDP-Laban, they said.

Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. (Cebu, 1st district) confirmed that he and members of the Alayon Party will be leaving the Nacionalista Party to join the administration party Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban).

In an interview yesterday, Gullas confirmed that he and members of Alayon will be joining other officials in Cebu in taking their oath as PDP-Laban members at the Plaza Independencia in Cebu City on Friday.

Mayors of the cities of Talisay, Naga and Carcar and the towns of Minglanilla, San Fernando and Sibonga are Alayon Party members.

Gullas said he has already sought permission from NP chairman and former senator Manny Villar before their decision to jump to PDP-Laban. Gullas said their decision to align themselves with PDP-Laban is to ensure that projects and programs of the current administration will be felt by their constituents.

But even though they are jumping to PDP-Laban, Gullas said their support for Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III will stay.

Gullas said that he and Cebu Reps. Red Durano (Cebu, 5th district), Wilfredo Caminero (Cebu, 2nd district), Peter Calderon (Cebu, 7th district) and Jonas Cortes (Cebu, 6th district) will continue supporting Davide on his third and final run for governor in 2019. But he refuses to comment on the possibility that PDP-Laban might field a candidate against Davide in 2019.

With this development, there are now three districts in Cebu Province that are supporting the national party.

While still with the Nacionalista Party, Alayon, which was then under the leadership of Gullas’ grandfather, former Cebu representative and Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas, coalesced with the Liberal Party during the 2016 national and local elections.

Mayor Mariano Blanco of Ronda, Cebu said that he and about 160 town and barangay officials will take oath as PDP-Laban members. Blanco acknowledged Dino’s effort to unite Cebu through the PDP-Laban oath-taking.

Tuburan Mayor Democrito Diamante said he will lead about 500 people from his town to take oath as members of the PDP-Laban.

Diamante is the president of the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter for two terms already. (EOB/JKV)