By Ben Rosario
Coalition partners Lakas-CMD and PDP-Laban candidates will collide head on in next year’s mid-term elections as the latter allegedly fielded bets in slots for congressional and local government posts in the May 2019 polls.
However, Lakas-CMD secretary general and House Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay said the political party that produced two presidents will honor its coalition agreement with Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
“There will be no Lakas-CMD candidates in areas where Hugpong, a regional party, will field candidates,“ Pichay told the weekly press briefing in the House of Representatives Monday.
Pichay said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Hugpong’s founder, will not put up bets in areas where Lakas-CMD are running, especially outside Hugpong’s areas of jurisdiction.
The presidential daughter’s political group has also pledged to back Lakas-CMD senatorial candidates detained former Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Dr. Willie Ong in 2019.
However, Lakas-CMD bets for congressman and local government unit posts will challenge PDP-Laban bets who are all over the country.
Pichay lamented that his party’s candidates will be squaring off with supposed allies PDP-Laban notwithstanding the fact that a coalition agreement between the two parties exists.
“Dapat kasi kung may coalition, ire-respeto na ka-coalition mo na huwag maglagay sa district. But iyong PDP-Laban, naglagay sila ng kandidato sa lahat ng districts. They didn’t respect the coalition,” the House official said. (If a coalition exists, partners must respect each other by not putting up bets in districts. But PDP-laban fielded candidates in all districts).
Pichay claimed that PDP-Laban, headed by Senator Aquilino Pimente III as president and former speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, also has an existing coalition partnership with the Nationalist People’s Coalition but had apparently reneged on the terms of the alliance.
Alvarez did not respond to requests for comment on the issue.
It was not clear whether or not the coalition partnership signed by Alvarez and Lakas-CMD president and former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez contained any provision of non-competition in elections.
It will be recalled that in May 2016, Alvarez, who expected to be elected as speaker, signed a coalition pact with Romualdez. Similar agreements were signed by Alvarez with leaders of the Nacionalista Party and the NPC.
The so-called agreement for “coalition for change” reportedly enjoined parties to support the Duterte administration’s legislative agenda which included revising the 1987 Constitution.