JDV bolts Lakas, BF boycotts merger

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SOME members of Lakas-CMD welcomed the decision of former Speaker Jose De Venecia to leave the party.

De Venecia resigned as President Emeritus on the eve of the formal announcement of the merger of Lakas and Kampi. He said he will not seek membership in the merged party.

“I shall continue to cherish the great moments which attended our establishment of the party which we founded in January 1992 with President Fidel Ramos and Raul Manglapus and which led to our political victories in 1992, our creation of the

Lakas-led rainbow coalition in the early 1990s and the sustained economic gains in the last decade of the last century,” he said in his resignation letter.

De Venecia was ousted as Lakas President after he was unseated as Speaker last year.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said De Venecia made a good decision.

“It was better politically for him to cut his ties and cut clean,” he said.

Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante agreed it was wise for De Venecia to leave the party. “His stay would be very unpopular,” Abante said.

Another Lakas member, Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando boycotted the Lakas-Kampi merger yesterday “for its lack of fairness and the preference of party leaders for candidates who are not even Lakas or Kampi members.

“I have no intention of attending my own funeral,” Bayani said in a statement.

He lamented that Lakas leaders have lately been trumpeting that the merger will help members decide who between Vice President Noli de Castro and Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro will be made standard bearer.

“They are conditioning the minds of the public to accept an inevitable De Castro or Teodoro candidacy,” he said.

“I am being treated as a non-entity by some party officials. My party thinks that I am an invisible man. Is this the kind of politics Lakas – Kampi will espouse? I was willing to go through the selection process that Lakas-Kampi will adopt, but on the premise that we are starting with a clean slate. We ought to have, as the popular phrase goes, a level playing field. Doesn’t party loyalty count anymore? Do principles still count in democratic politics?” Fernando said.