Lakas-Kampi-CMD national execom affirms validity of merger

August 20, 2009 9:47 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Aug. 20 — The Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christian-Muslim-Democrat) national executive committee, in its second meeting held on Thursday, signed a resolution affirming the validity of the merger of the political parties.

Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio, who also acts as secretary general of the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, said the national executive committee has approved a resolution which affirmed the validity of the merger and that all procedures and consultations have been complied with.

Contrary to the claims of former House Speaker and Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr., Claudio said the merging of Lakas-CMD and Kampi was supported by an "overwhelming majority" of members of both political parties.

He said the national executive committee has agreed to pursue its petition with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with regards to the accreditation of the merged party, consolidate its members from top to bottom, and continue with the selection of its national and local candidates based on the most "stringent" set of criteria.

In May, the Lakas-CMD merged with the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi), the party founded by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which aimed to be the country’s strongest political party for the May 2010 elections.

De Venecia filed a petition before the Comelec asking for the nullification of the merged Lakas-Kampi-CMD party. A hearing is set on September 17.

In an earlier interview, the former Speaker said he filed the petition "to save Lakas-CMD" since the merged party was illegal and has not even been accredited and recognized by the Comelec.

He said he is appearing as witness on the Sept. 17 hearing of the poll body.

Speaker Prospero Nograles, in a chance interview after the meeting, said it's now up for the Comelec to decide on the legality of the merger.

"The ball is in the court of the Comelec, meaning, if the merger is legal or not," he said.

Nograles, however, said that the current question on the merger’s legality will not divide Lakas-Kampi-CMD.

"There is no such 'exodus' of party members. We are solid, not split and we are full force," he said.

On the other hand, Claudio expressed confidence that former President Fidel V. Ramos, who has turned down the offer to be chairman emeritus of the merged party, will be "enlightened" when he heard their explanation on the issue.

"The problem is that the former president only heard one side of the issue (side of De Venecia). When he returns from abroad and we can be able to talk to him, I am optimistic and hopeful that he (Ramos) will stick with the party and be enlightened," he said.

Claudio said the Lakas-Kampi-CMD national executive committee agreed to form a four-man team tasked to conduct dialogue with the former president and founder of the Lakas-CMD.

This will be composed of Claudio, Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello III, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, and Nograles.

Ermita earlier said it is "hard" for him to say anything on the issue for some people may use or misuse his statements.

"He (Ramos) is just coming out with his own position," he said.

Ermita said that matters like the announcement of the former president is something that cannot be set aside, especially since it comes from the former leader.

Claudio stressed that the Lakas-Kampi-CMD "value the presence of President Ramos in the coalition and his historic role and distinction as founder of Lakas-CMD."

"We are very hopeful of positive outcome once the former leader returns and is enlightened on the situation," he said. (PNA)

scs/LGI

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