25 Bohol mayors leave Lakas for Villar's Nationalista
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (5 June) -- IN A surprise show of party expediency, 25 Bohol mayors shook off their party affiliations to the welcoming embrace of the Nationalist Party headed by presidential bet and Senator Manuel Villar.
The mayors, most of them affiliated with the ruling Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas CMD) Kampi coalition bolted at the time when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo officiated the merger of Lakas CMD and her party Kabalikat sa Malayang Pilipino (KAMPI).
The 25 mayors took their oath under their new party in a discreet political gathering at the posh Bohol Tropics Resort and presided over by Villar.
Newspaper reports named the 6 bolting mayors of the First District as Cirilo Jalad (Alburquerque), Alvin Uy (Baclayon), Apolinaria Balistoy (Cortes), Simplicio Yu (Calape), Vito Rapal (Corella) and Irineo Calimpusan (Sikatuna).
In Bohol's second district, 6 mayors now allied with the Villar party are Hermogenes Diezon (Clarin) Elsa Tirol (Buenavista), Teresa Camacho (Getafe) Apolinar Gumanid (San Isidro) Claudio Bonior (San Miguel) and Herminio Relampagos (Dagohoy).
In the third District, named were Leon Calipusan (Loboc), Fanuel Cadelina (Bilar) Gregoria Pepito (Batuan) Simplicio Maestrado (Sierra Bullones) Wilson Pajo (Pilar), Pedro Miasco (Alicia) Sergio Amora (Candijay), Stephen Rances (Mabini) Ma. Fe Piezas (Guindulman) Manuel Tan (Duero) and Exuperio Lloren (Jagna)
The massive party switching also happened at a time when Lakas regional and provincial party head Governor Erico Aumentado was out of town for a scheduled state visit in Korea.
While Capitol has still to issue a statement over the incident, radio reports projected Villar as a close ally of Aumentado, who sat as Villar's deputy speaker in his heydays as House bigwig.
A radio commentator here candidly referred to the political phenomenon as "ants go where sugar is."
In Bohol, where the Administration garnered one of the country's widest victory margin during the last elections, a massive party switching would be construed as a big dent to the Lakas KAMPI merger.
Reports also said that the merger was a convenient way of consolidating the forces sympathetic to the ruling administration.
On related development, Political Affairs Adviser Gabriel Claudio has hinted that Malacanang knows there are some parties ding piracy and raiding the Lakas-Kampi party, especially in the municipal level.
"We are doing our own check on this," as he continued, "This is hardly the time for Lakas Kampi members to even doubt their membership in the newly merged party. (PIA) [top]