MANILA - The Liberal Party (LP) on Wednesday confirmed that 4 of its members at the House of Representatives are moving over to President Rodrigo Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban.
They are representatives Geraldine Roman of Bataan, Ansaruddin Adiong of Lanao del Sur, Nancy Catamco of North Cotabato and Alfred Vargas of Quezon City.
Liberal Party stalwart Quezon City Representative Christopher Kit Belmonte said the four lawmakers have already said their goodbyes to the party. He added that the lawmakers are expected to take their oaths to PDP-Laban today.
"At the end of the day may local concerns ka at saka mahirap talagang maging LP sa panahong ito. Ang 2019 (elections) kailangan mo ring consider," he said.
Belmonte, nephew of former House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, emphasized that party members are reeling from the political heat and stigma of being LP.
He said criticisms coming from LP lawmakers have been perceived by some as efforts to install Vice President Leni Robredo as president.
"Alam niyo, kapag may masamang nangyayari, tinuturo nila 'yung dilaw. Pag tinuturo nila ang dilaw, LP, may effect talaga 'yan. Locally may effect sa reelection mo. May effect sa local politics mo. Lahat kami nararamdaman 'yan not only 'yung lumilipat," he explained.
It's déjà vu in reverse for LP, which also saw its ranks swell at the start of the Aquino administration with former allies of Former President Gloria Arroyo joining them when her own term ended in 2010.
"For one, we understand and we wish them well. Like I said, mahirap talagang maging LP ngayon. In fact we started out with the new administration lagpas 100 kami. Ngayon we're under 30," he said.
Meanwhile, Belmonte said he does not see any implications of the transfer of LP lawmakers to the impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo.
"I don't think may relationship ito with the impeachment ni VP Leni. I think malinaw naman 'yung positions," he said.--Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News