Lobregat says party lineup was not for PDP-Laban

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 7 Sep) – Local political scion Celso Lobregat, who served as mayor and representative of this city during several terms, clarified that the party lineup that was formed and presented to the people of Zamboanga via social media on Sunday was not that of PDP-Laban even as he ran under the latter in the 2019 elections.

In a phone call Tuesday, Lobregat said his lineup was “Team Colorao,” an informal group that is not officially linked with neither Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao nor Energy Secretary Alfonso “Al” Cusi.

As he announced his group’s candidates for the 2022 elections, the two factions of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Manila released two different announcements: Senator Pacquiao declining offer by Secretary Cusi to lead the party’s senatorial slate, and the latter asking  the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to declare the Pacquiao faction as “usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives” of PDP-Laban.

Lobregat said he would wait for the national level of PDP-Laban to formally settle the leadership issue.

He joined PDP-Laban late in 2016, a few months after President Rodrigo Duterte, the party’s chairman, won the country’s top post. Lobregat then ran for mayor under PDP-Laban in 2019 but lost to Beng Climaco-Salazar of the Liberal Party.

“Right now, I would like to emphasize that it is Team Colorao, or the Red Team. It is an informally organized lineup,” Lobregat said of the slate he announced on Sunday.

His lineup included candidates for vice mayor, the city’s congressional representatives and councilors for its two districts.

Conspicuously missing is the mayoralty candidate.

Lobregat said that he himself has not decided yet whether to run or not, and for what post, adding that he will finalize his decision on Sunday, he told MindaNews in a phone interview.

Councilor Khymer Adan Olaso, who is aspiring to become congressional representative of District 1 under Lobregat’s group, said in a phone interview that he had run as councilor for Adelante Zamboanga before, but he would rather stay with the local party rather than join a party in the national level at this time. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)