MANILA - To remedy the questionable legal status of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Kampi members in a meeting on Wednesday offered to adopt members of the ruling party Lakas-CMD for the May 2010 elections.
“We are discussing plans on how to help Lakas insofar as the problem with JDV (ousted Lakas-CMD president Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr.) is concerned,” said Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga.
De Venecia’s petition to nullify the merger of Lakas and Kampi is pending before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), where he raised two key issues:
- his ouster as Lakas-CMD president in February was illegal, and thus, the leadership of House Speaker Prospero Nograles as party president was illegal, too;
- the merger facilitated by the allegedly illegal Lakas-CMD officials is also illegal.
In a two-hour meeting, the Kampi members agreed that this plan should be adopted if Lakas-Kampi-CMD is still not accredited by November 20, or ten days before the November 30 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacies.
“We are just putting up a contingency. We want to allay the fears and apprehensions. There is no worry on the part of Lakas and Kampi members. Regardless of what happens in Comelec, there will be a party which they can use,” Barzaga said.
Lakas was founded in 1991 by de Venecia for the presidential bid of then Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos.
On the other hand, Kampi was founded by President Arroyo supposedly for her presidential bid in 1998. But she withdrew and agreed to be House Speaker Jose de Venecia's running mate under the Lakas-CMD party. Kampi was revived by First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo in 2004.
Under the leadership of Nograles, the Lakas-CMD decided to merge with Kampi to unite and strengthen the administration machinery for the 2010 elections. Around 70% of the country’s local officials are with the two parties.
Barzaga said de Venecia’s case before the Comelec is making members of the merged party apprehensive. They fear two possibilities may result from the petition:
The Comelec will not accredit the new party, and therefore, will not recognize the candidates it will field because of the legal issues raised by de Venecia;
- the legal cases may not be decided with finality before the November 30 deadline of filing of certificates of candidacies;
- While the Comelec is expected to decide on the legality of the merger by October, de Venecia has warned that he would take his case to the Supreme Court if the Comelec ruling turns out to be unfavorable to him.
Under these two scenarios, the merged party and Lakas-CMD will both have shaky legal bases, making Kampi the accidental lifesaver for the two administration parties.
“There is a possibility that Speaker Nograles would be signing the nomination for Lakas candidates, but JDV might also question that before the Comelec. He’d say that Nograles is not the one authorized [to sign nominations],” Barzaga said.
Barzaga also reiterated Kampi’s support for the presidential bid of Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. He said they will honor the decision of the merged party.
“We want to be categorical in saying that we are supporting the merger. We are in good relations with Lakas,” Barzaga added.