JdV to join Villar’s NP?

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THIS early, House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. and his allies at the Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats may have hinted at the possibility they would leave the Arroyo administration and join the bid of Nacionalista Party leader, Senate President Manuel Villar, in the 2010 presidential elections.

De Venecia, who will end his third consecutive term as congressman in 2010, is expected to seek a higher office when President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo steps down two years from now.

The speaker attended the 100th anniversary of the Nacionalista Party the other night at the Philippine International Convention Center. He spoke about the “strong” alliance between the two parties.

“The alliance is ongoing, we have a powerful coalition with NP,” said in his speech, referring to the multi-party Sunshine Coalition at the lower House.

The NP anniversary was held three days after the Liberal Party virtually endorsed the bid of Senator Manuel Roxas II when he was appointed as party president in a grand ceremony in San Juan.

Former Davao del Sur Rep. and now Gov. Douglas Cagas, despite admitting that he is a loyalist of President Arroyo, said he would be supporting the bid of Villar, the country’s richest senator, in 2010.

“I am loyal to the President, but our candidate [for president] will be Manny Villar,” Cagas, a Lakas-CMD stalwart said,

Cavite Rep. Gilbert Remulla, NP spokesman, said their party would fully support Villar’s candidacy in 2010.

“We want Malacañang in 2010 and Villar is our candidate for presidential elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, a senior administration congressman has brushed aside speculations that Malacañang is behind the “resurrection” of cases against House Speaker De Venecia.

“Malacañang has nothing to do with this,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman of Lakas-CMD.

In a media forum, Lagman told reporters that linking the Palace to pin down De Venecia on old charges are mere speculations.

“Before, there was a decree against rumor-mongering, now there should be a decree against speculations,” he said.