Negros Occidental gov, other officials join Duterte party
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and his allies have decided to join the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Fifty local officials, led by the governor, submitted their application forms on Monday, August 15, to Yves Akol, secretary-general of the PDP-Laban in the Negros Island Region.
Aside from Marañon, board members, mayors, vice mayors, and councilors would also be joining the PDP-Laban roster. These include Board Members Salvador Escalante Jr. and Samson Mirhan, both of Second District; as well as Mayors Alfredo Marañon III of Sagay City, Ernesto Estrao of Hinobaan, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, and Richard Jaojoco of Toboso.
Akol said he expects more local officials to join the PDP-Laban after they were given another week to accomplish their forms. He added their application will go through the local and national councils of PDP-Laban.
Akol also said the feedback or opposition of the local party members will be forwarded to the National Membership Committee, along with the forms, on August 16. Akol added the national leadership has the last say on the applications.
If approved, the new applicants will attend a seminar and will eventually be sworn in as new members of the party.
Expected during the induction of new members in Negros Occidental are top PDP-Laban officials led by Duterte, who is chairman. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the party; and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, its secretary general, are also expected to attend.
Second District Board Member Salvador Escalante Jr., secretary-general of Marañon-led United Negros Alliance, said majority of them will join PDP-Laban because they are following the lead of the governor.
He said that Marañon consulted them on the invitation of PDP-Laban to join their party. "I could say that we all agreed that if it's good for the province, we will join the governor (in his decision),” he added.
Marañon and his allies supported the bid of Duterte’s opponent, former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, in the May 9 polls.
Marañon, a staunch critic of Duterte during the elections, vowed that Negros Island Region could deliver 1.5 million votes for the administration standard-bearer, with one million votes coming from Negros Occidental alone. They, however, failed to deliver the promised million votes for Roxas.
Negros Occidental is a known bailiwick of Roxas, as his mother Judy Araneta-Roxas is from Bago City.
Roxas was instrumental in the creation of the Negros Island Region, as he endorsed the proposal to former president Benigno Aquino III, who signed the executive order creating the new region on May 29, 2015.
Marañon, who leads the United Negros Alliance, has no affiliation with any national party.
He previously belonged to the Nationalist People’s Coalition, where he was a provincial chairman, but he was kicked out of the party in 2013, along with former Fourth District representative Jeffrey Ferrer. – Rappler.com