Ally says no conflict in joining Arroyo camp and supporting federal charter provision vs turncoatism

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan

MEMBERS of the still-ruling PDP-Laban who plan to join the political alliance of newly elected Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will continue to support charter change despite a ban, in the draft federal charter for their consideration, on party-switching or turncoatism, an ally of Ms. Arroyo said.

The draft Federal Constitution provides that members of political parties elected into a public office will be prohibited from switching parties, two years before and two years after a given election.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Deputy Speaker Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. said, “I don’t see any conflict there. As long as they’ve secured their place and the party is there, they won through that party, there is no reason na magkokontra sila doon (for them to oppose the provision).”

He explained congressmen are only being practical in switching parties in their attempt to lock in their positions for the next term. “Of course, they have to assure themselves first. That’s only practical,” Mr. Andaya said.

“How do you even get to the point of voting whether you’re for the new charter or not if you’re not even there,” he added.

The shift to a federal government is among the declared priorities of Speaker Arroyo, in line with the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

The Deputy Speaker, who was Ms. Arroyo’s budget secretary when she was president, earlier confirmed that some members of the PDP-Laban plan to transfer to the new Speaker’s Lakas-CMD party which may enter into a coalition with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago regional party founded by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

“Currently, there are more than a hundred plus (PDP-Laban members), but siyempre, (of course) there will be a few who will try it. Once may nakapasok na, tuloy-tuloy na ‘yan (someone gets in, more will join),” Mr. Andaya said.

He added: “Probably a party like Lakas will take this opportunity to rebuild and come up with a coalition, although that’s just my personal opinion. But that is a possibility na gawin nila para magkaroon ng national posture ang mga kandidato (that they will do for candidates to gain a national posture).”