The LIberal Party and the Nacionalista Party, the oldest political parties in the country, are losing key men in the House of Representatives who have reportedly joined other groups as the filing of candidacies for all elective posts nears.
Newly-revived Aksyon Demokratiko under Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso and the National Unity Party were the preferred destinations.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice was first to bolt LP to join Aksyon Demokratiko with its 2022 standard-bearer Domagoso.
Expected to follow him are LP stalwarts Reps. Josephine Sato (Lone District, Mindoro Occidental) and Paul Daza (1st District, Northern Samar).
A highly reliable source in the Lower House revealed that NP’s most dependable leaders in the chamber have jumped ship to join the National Unity Party under party president and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga.
Senior Deputy Majority Leader Crispin Remulla (7th District, Cavite) and former Deputy Speaker Elray Villafuerte (2nd District, Camarines Sur), together with Cavite Gov. Junvic Remulla, have been reported to be the newest members of NUP.
Manila 5th District Rep. Cristal Bagatsing, who was reported to be a member of NP, has also joined the NUP, a political party that Domagoso abandoned in preparation for his presidential bid.
The source cited a number of reasons for the re-alignment of political forces among members of the Malacanang-backed majority bloc in the Lower House.
“There are controversies in their respective localities or congressional districts involving their 2022 political bids. In the case of Erice who is running for mayor in Caloocan City, loyalty to LP will not help him but Isko’s popularity, will,” the source explained.
Erice faces the daunting task of ending the deeply-embedded political might of incumbent Mayor Oscar Malapitan. His son, Rep. Along Malapitan, will run against Erice.
“Although the anti-yellow sentiment initiated by Duterte has started to wane because of the many corruption accusations hurled against his administration, Sato and Daza are better off leaving LP and joining either Moreno or (Sen. Manny) Pacquiao,” the source added.
Sato has set her sights at returning as governor of her province. The position is currently occupied by Gov. Eduardo Gadiano.
The Remulla brothers are believed to have reached the decision to jump to NUP, reportedly to support the presidential bid of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, a fellow Caviteño.
Lacson, it was gathered, has been promised the backing of NUP chairman and political strategist, former Antipolo City Rep. Ronaldo Puno.
The senator will head Reporma, a political party founded by former Defense Secretary Renato De Villa and recently reactivated by former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
The source could not explain the reason behind Villafuerte’s move to NUP.