Roxas still LP president

PNS — FORMER Senator Manuel Roxas II will be reelected Liberal Party president today as the new Liberals stopped contesting the position after House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. rejected the offer to lead the party, Leyte Rep. and Belmonte ally Sergio Apostol said Tuesday.

At the resumption of the congressional session Monday, Belmonte met with Apostol and the key leaders of the 81-strong new Liberals and asked them not to pursue his nomination but instead to unite behind Roxas, Apostol said.

“I am for Mar,” Belmonte told reporters Tuesday.

“There is now a consensus among the elected LP officials to keep Mar on top of the party.”

The Liberals, led by President Benigno Aquino III, Roxas, Belmonte and other officials, will gather at the Club Filipino in San Juan this morning to celebrate their 65th founding anniversary.

The gathering will be highlighted by the election of party officials by the 161 members of the National Executive Council, which includes the 81 Liberals from the House.

Roxas is scheduled to deliver a “President’s Speech,” in which he is to spell out the party’s direction under the Aquino administration.

As to the threat of the Lakas-Kampi CMD party of the Arroyo administration, Apostol said Belmonte had assured them that Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the Lakas-Kampi CMD president, would not pose a threat because the Lakas-Kampi CMD had declared its “cooperation” with the administration.

Of the 109 elected Lakas-Kampi CMD members, some 30 had already switched to the Liberals. And of the 79 that remained with the party, another 41 had chosen to ally with the majority, Apostol said.