FORMER President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Speaker Jose de Venecia reunited on Monday and discussed ways to strengthen their old party, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).
Arroyo, Lakas-CMD president emeritus and De Venecia, the party’s chairman emeritus, stood as special guests in the lunch meeting hosted by De Venecia for Lakas-CMD party congressmen at the Sampaguita Gardens in Quezon City, along with House majority leader and party president Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., party chairman.
“Our team is in the process of rebuilding Lakas-CMD and we will just have to win them (former members) back again,” said Romualdez.
During the latter part of the Arroyo administration, she and De Venecia had a falling out over the NBN-ZTE broadband deal scandal.
Among those who attended the luncheon were deputy speaker Prospero Pichay (Surigao del Sur), Aleta Suarez (Quezon), Paz Radasa (Lapu-Lapu City), Yasser Balindong (Lanao del Sur), Christian Unabia (Misamis Oriental), Hector Sanchez (Catanduanes), Roger Mercado (Southern Leyte), and Christopher de Venecia (Pangasinan).
Lakas has 15 members in the House but one or two new members are expected to join it soon.
De Venecia, in a speech, urged Lakas-CMD congressmen to take the lead in strengthening the party and to make sure that it plays a leadership role in the forthcoming 2022 elections.
“We are proud and happy to say that Lakas-NUCD-UMDP, now Lakas-CMD, is already 28 years old and had led our country for 15 years – six years under President (Fidel) Ramos and nine years under President Arroyo. And we can be proud of our achievements,” said De Venecia, a five-term speaker.
“As part of any thorough-going political reform, we need to build up strong political parties, to institutionalize — and therefore stabilize — political decision-making,” he added.
De Venecia said many of the political problems plaguing the country “rise from our lack of political groupings able to think coherently of the national interest.”