BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews) – A new political realignment in the Caraga region is shaping up as four of the six congressmen in four provinces have joined President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party as others vowed to support the new administration.
Three Lakas-CMD-Kampi party solons in Surigao del Norte and Agusan del Norte, including a Surigao del Sur Nacionalista Party (NP) congressman, recently bolted from their respective parties and took their oath as members of the new administration party
In Surigao del Norte, Rep. Francisco T. Matugas (1st Dist.), who is also vice president of Kampi for Mindanao, and Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr. (2nd Dist.), Lakas district chairman, officially announced that they accepted the invitation to join LP.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Florencio Garay (2nd Dist., Nacionalista Party) and Rep. Ma. Angelica Amante-Matba (2nd Dist., Agusan del Norte, Lakas) are also joining President Aquino’s party, Matugas revealed.
Rep. Amante-Matba’s brother, Agusan del Norte Gov. Erlpe Amante (Lakas ), cannot be contacted if he would be joining the LP. But Butuan City Mayor Ferdinand Amante Jr., cousin of the congresswoman and the governor, belongs to the LP.
Earlier, Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolf Edward Plaza (Lakas) had called on all mayors and provincial board members to shift loyalty to President Aquino’s administration. Plaza still remains as Lakas party member.
“Our brand of politics is for the development of Agusan del Sur and President Aquino’s thrust for good governance is also one our political platforms, so there’s no reasons why we should not support the new leadership,” Plaza told the mayors in a conference at the provincial capitol a last week.
All of the newly elected and reelected mayors in Agusan del Sur (13 towns and one component city) belong to the Lakas party.
Plaza, who took his oath as new governor before President Aquino at Malacañang on June 30, also asked his two neophyte congresswomen — sisters Maria Valentina Plaza (1st Dist.) and Evelyn Plaza-Mellan (2nd Dist.) — to support the LP leadership in Congress.
Still loyal to the Lakas party are Surigao del Sur Rep. Philip Pichay (1st Dist.) and Butuan City Rep. Jose Aquino.
Matugas said they officially took their oath on Wednesday as new members of the LP before President Aquino at Malacañang.
“We are joining LP because we want to help the Aquino administration’s economic, development and reform agenda. After all, our action is for the good of our people in our respective districts,” he said.
The Surigao del Norte solon said that his joining the administration party would benefit the Surigaonons. Matugas, however, said his wife, Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas, is still independent.
Sources said some newly elected local officials in Surigao del Norte who joined the LP already took their oath on July 19. (Alden Pantaleon / MindaNews)