The new members of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Cebu, who used to be with the Liberal Party (LP), are now ambivalent as to whom to support for governor in case Gov. Hilario Davide III seeks reelection and PDP-Laban will field another candidate for governor in 2019.
At least a dozen former LP mayors and four Provincial Board (PB) Members — three of whom were allied with Davide under LP — formally pledged their allegiance to President Rodrigo Duterte’s party during a mass oath-taking ceremony last Friday at Plaza Independencia.
All have earlier made pronouncements that they would continue to support Davide, who chairs LP-Cebu, even if they would switch party affiliation.
But when reporters interviewed some of them minutes after they took their oath as PDP-Laban member, their positions changed.
One was PB Member Yolanda Daan from Cebu’s 1st Congressional District.
As a member of the Gullas-led Alang sa Kalambuan ug Kalinaw (Alayon), she and all mayors from the the 1st District — Eduardo Gullas of Talisay City, Kristine Vanessa Chiong of Naga City, Nicepuro Apura of Carcar City, Elanito Peña of Minglanilla, Lakambini Reluya of San Fernando, and Caroline Bacaltos of Sibonga — took their oath with PDP-Laban.
In earlier interviews, Daan told reporters that even if she would decide to switch parties, she would still continue to support Davide. But after she took her oath, she said she will have to wait for instructions from Cebu 1st District Rep. Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas as to whom they should back in the 2019 polls.
“We will only wait for instructions from our congressman. Because all the help during elections came from him. And I already asked permission from Governor Davide and Vice Governor Agnes Magpale. Now that I’m a member of PDP-Laban, and in case the party will endorse (a governor in the May 2019 elections), and the congressman says (we have) to support (a particular) candidate, then we have to,” said Daan.
However, she assured that her decision to shift allegiance will not affect the legislative agenda of the Davide administration that she has previously decided to support.
Her fellow PB member in the 1st District, Raul Bacaltos, was also among those who are now under the administration’s party.
But it can be recalled that Bacaltos earlier announced he was not going to attend the oathl-taking ceremony. He was not spotted during the ceremony last Friday. Cebu Daily News tried to contact him but all attempts were futile.
Alayon, a party founded by then-representative and now Talisay City Mayor Gullas (the grandfather of the incumbent congressman), joined the LP in 2012 and backed the presidential bid of LP standard bearer Mar Roxas in May 2016. But within the month after Duterte won the presidential elections, or in June 2016, the Alayon leadership announced plans to shift their alliance to Duterte’s PDP-Laban.
Another PB member who switched to PDP-Laban also started to speak like Daan just hours after he joined the administration party.
PB Member Glen Bercede, who won in the 6th District under LP, met with Davide prior to taking his oath with PDP-Laban to assure the governor of his continued support in the event he will seek reelection in 2019.
But on Friday, he also said he would have to back whoever will PDP-Laban field as candidates in the midterm polls of 2019.
“If we see Governor Davide’s projects and programs are for the good every Cebuano, then we will support him. But since I am already a party (member) of PDP-Laban, I will only support what has been agreed by the party’s officials,” explained Bercede.
Davide could not be reached for comment.
Even Samsam Gullas is now singing a slightly different tune.
Gullas said that at this time, he — along with the other Cebuano legislators (Representatives Jonas Cortes of the 6th District, Wilfredo Caminero of the 2nd District, Peter John Calderon of the 7th District, Ramon “Red” Durano VI of the 5th District — have agreed to support Davide if the latter will seek reelection.
“(But in case) PDP-Laban tells us differently, we will (reveal) it as it happens,” Gullas said.
Out of the 53 mayors in Cebu, 34 are now members of PDP-Laban. But of the remaining non-aligned mayors, those in the 5th District (one city and 11 towns) under the Durano-led Barug Alang sa Kauswagan ug Demokrasya (Bakud) are considered to be friendly to PDP-Laban.
Bakud earlier said that while it would not join the ruling party, it was willing to forge a coalition with PDP-Laban.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, whose party Bando Osmeña–Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) has continued to be aligned with LP, also said that he would not stop BOPK members who would wish to join PDP-Laban, even if the ruling party is now populated by those from Barug Team Rama, BO-PK’s political nemesis.