Lakas-Kampi readying bets for 2010 polls

July 18, 2009 2:22 pm 

By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, July 18 -– Pro-administration Lakas-Kampi political party is revving up its preparations for the May 2010 elections.

Lakas-Kampi interim vice-chairperson and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno said the party will hold consultation meetings about the composition of its 2010 electoral slate by August or September.

”We’ll set the process of selecting our national and local candidates,” he said Saturday at Kapihan sa Sulo forum.

He said that the selection process would be done after electing in August the party's permanent set of officers.

To avoid possible internal squabbles, Puno said Lakas-Kampi also came up with a resolution on its members’ commitment to support who the party choosed as standard bearer and other bets for next year.

”I’m counting on everyone to honor that commitment,” he said.

Lakas-Kampi decided on such measures to ensure success of its 2010 electoral bid.

For the forthcoming polls, Lakas-Kampi deputy secretary-general Regie Velasco assured that the party would field a complete slate of national and local candidates nationwide. ”Other political parties won’t have that kind of machinery,” he pointed out during the forum.

To help determine the best candidates, he said Lakas-Kampi will hold, beginning mid-August, informal regional primaries.

He said prospective presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial bets would present then to the party's regional leaders their respective governance platforms.

Velasco named Vice-President Noli de Castro, defense chief Gilbert Teodoro, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairperson Bayani Fernando and Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte as personalities whom Lakas-Kampi was considering for the presidential race.

”It’s a blessing in disguise that Lakas-Kampi still doesn’t have a standard bearer unlike other parties as we can hold consultations to determine who our candidate would be,” Velasco said.

Fernando and Belmonte belong to the party while de Castro is an independent and Teodoro teamed with National People's Coalition earlier.

Lakas-Kampi is open to considering prospective candidates from other groups as long as they support the party's platform, however, Velasco said.

"We support people who support our thrust," he said.

He said Lakas-Kampi already received word that Teodoro would formally join the party on July 24.

"This might set the trend for others who want to be candidates of our party," he said.

Puno also clarified that Lakas-Kampi considered de Castro as its own member.

"There are no indications the Vice-President considers himself to be outside the administration – he still implements its programs and his independence isn't contrary to what he's doing in government," Puno said.

Reports cited incumbent senators Ramon Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid as well as National Economic and Development Authority head Ralph Recto, anti-illegal drugs chief Vicente Sotto III, ex-senator Joey Lina, former health secretary Juan Flavier, Department of Education chief Jesli Lapus and Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque as among potential senatorial candidates of Lakas-Kampi.

Puno already expressed interest in becoming the running mate of the party's presidential bet, vowing to help promote local government units' full autonomy and increased participation in development nationwide as he noted that Philippine vice-presidents were no longer the mere 'spare tires' they once were.

He intends to discuss such governance plans with Lakas-Kampi members so they can better understand his determination to seek the country's second top post.

"I'll do everything possible to get their nomination – I'm convinced if I talk to them long and hard the party will support me,"he said.

If rejected as Lakas-Kampi vice-presidential candidate, however,Puno assured he’ll honor the party’s decision on who to field as such.

He also expressed willingness to be the party’s campaign manager instead, working “to win as many posts as possible.”

Lakas-Kampi is eyeing to be the accredited ruling political party.

”We filed the notification with Commission on Elections this week and hopefully, it’ll make its initial decision on accrediting Lakas-Kampi as the dominant party,” Velasco added. (PNA)



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