CEBU City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella will lead a group of politicians and their supporters in an oath-taking as the city’s party officers of the administration’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), before the party’s president and secretary-general, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr., and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, respectively, this Wednesday in Manila. But not all Barug Team Rama members are joining the group as some members have begged off as they are still committed to support “has-been” mayor Michael Rama because of personal and political reasons.
Joining the group are Councilors Joey Daluz, Raymond Garcia, Joel Garganera, Edu Rama, Renato “Junjun” Osmeña, former councilor Noel Wenceslao, academician Raddy Diola, Apas Barangay Captain Ramil Ayuman, former Calape, Bohol mayor Ernest Herrera, former PTV 4 newscaster Eric Espina. Cebu First District Rep. Gerard Anthony “Samsam” Gullas will also join the group.
Councilors Joy Pesquera and Pastor “Jun” Alcover are not joining for personal and political reasons. Joy had been rumored as Mike Rama’s girlfriend and she is supporting him through “thick and thin” and “for better or worse.” Alcover has been anti-Duterte since time immemorial. Mike cannot also join the party because the President had named as a drug protector. Although Labella and the group already took their oath as the administration’s party members during last month’s mass oath-taking, Wednesday is the official oath-taking for the city’s chapter officers. Labella is the party’s city chairman.
Almost all of Cebu’s provincial politicians have already shifted loyalty to the administration party, especially the district congressmen. Well, this is the reality in the country’s multi-party system where politicians change party affiliations like they change their underwear. In politics, there is no such thing as party loyalty. What is permanent is the personal and vested interests of politicians. And that is the dynamics in the country’s political system.
Theoretically, the formation of political parties is a result of people bonding together with the same political vision, principles and ideologies. It is either to protect the members’ individual interests or of the party itself as a whole. But with the multi-party system being encouraged under our 1987 Constitution, political parties are being used by some politicians for their political convenience. And they usually “troop” to the administration party as they can easily get funding and projects.
With the taking oath of Labella et al, this will resolve the issue on who will be the legitimate members of the party in the city chapter. A group of PDP-Laban supporters headed by a certain Lorna Bacalla also claimed that they were the original party members as they were appointed by the party leadership even before the presidential elections in 2016 to support Duterte and underwent basic seminar for the party. Duterte is not even a PDP-Laban member. Former senator Aquilino Pimentel Sr., Jejomar Binay, former Cebu rep. Antonio Cuenco and the late Inday Nita Cortes Daluz, were the original founding members of the party. Duterte just used the party as a vehicle when he decided to run. He substituted anti-crime advocate Martin Dino’s presidential bid.
I am not dousing cold water on those claiming they belong to the original group. But the political reality in the country is that the politician who has clout and a stronghold in the community is usually appointed to lead the group. Bacalla is an unknown personality and she is not a politician. And she cannot dictate to the party leadership who will be their candidates for the coming elections. What is the purpose of a national party to affiliate with a local party? So that the local party can carry the national party’s presidential and senatorial candidates during campaign period. Labella has political clout and a stronghold being the incumbent vice mayor. In fact, he is considered as a mayoral candidate.
But aside from the PDP-Laban that is backing the administration, there are also various parallel pro-Duterte groups like the Kilusang Pagbabago of Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco, Duterte Diehard Supporters and now the “Hugpong ng Pagbabago,” which was recently launched by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sarah Duterte. I was informed that this regional group will be launched nationwide and will be recruiting members. In Cebu City, the group is eying Councilor Margot Osmena to be its chairperson and not the “former political has been” because Inday Sarah has been hearing negative things about him. Aw, nindot ni. Magkalabo-labo na ang mga partido sa administrasyon. Abangan.