Ruling party loses another member

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    PRESIDENT Duterte’s ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has lost another member, this time to the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

    Biliran Rep. Gerardo “Gerryboy” Espina Jr. was sworn in yesterday as a member of Lakas-CMD by party president and majority leader Martin Romualdez who vowed the party will “continue to solidify and strengthen our political influence nationwide.”

    Espina is a vice chairman of the House committees on health and agrarian reform.

    Espina’s entry to Lakas-CMD increased the party’s membership to 30, composed of 15 congressional districts and 15 party-list lawmakers.

    The PDP-Laban now has 62 members left.

    On February 5, four congressmen abandoned the ruling party to join the National Unity Party (NUP), which is now the second largest party at the House of Representatives.

    They were deputy speakers Neptali Gonzales II of Mandaluyong City and Dan Fernandez of Laguna and Rep. Sandra Eriguel and Rolando “Clarex” Uy of Cagayan de Oro.

    Last December, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger “Going” Mercado took his oath as Lakas-CMD member.

    The other officials and members of the Lakas-CMD in the House are deputy speaker Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. (Surigao del Sur); deputy majority leaders Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo (Pampanga), Christopher “Toff” de Venecia (Pangasinan), and Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II (Zamboanga Sibugay); and Reps. Yasser Balindong (Lanao del Sur), Aleta Suarez (Quezon), Paz Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), Marilou Arroyo (Negros Occidental), Christian Unabia (Misamis Oriental), Fredenil Castro (Capiz), Fidel Nograles (Rizal), Hector Sanchez (Catanduanes).

    The 15 party-list lawmakers who are allied with Lakas-CMD are Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez (Tingog) Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan), Sonny Lagon (Ako Bisaya), Alfredo Garbin and Elizalde Co (Ako Bicol), Ana Marie Villaraza-Suarez (Alona), Adriano Ebcas (Ako Padayon Pilipino), Romeo Momo Sr. (CWS), Jose Gay Padiernos (GP), Presyley de Jesus (Philreca), Godofredo Guya (Recoboda), Jose Teves (TGP) Raymond Democrito Mendoza (TUC), Argel Cabatbat (Magsasaka), and deputy speaker Rodante Marcoleta of Sagip party-list group.

    The party-list lawmakers signed the “Declaration of Alliance for Unity and Progress” with the party to further solidify their support to the legislative agenda of President Duterte and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.