Friday, March 03, 2006

Atienza faction in LP considered resigned

Atienza faction in LP considered resigned--spokesman
First posted 04:57pm (Mla time) Mar 03, 2006
By Maila Ager

THOSE who sided with Manila Mayor Lito Atienza are considered resigned from the Liberal Party (LP), the spokesman of the group identified with Senate President Franklin Drilon said Friday.

"We consider them resigned. They are the breakaway," said Jose Luis Gascon.

"Atienza, et al is currently in limbo and I don't know how they would call their group. It could be LP, which means "Lakas Pala" or "Lapian ng Pangulo [Party of the President]," he said.

Gascon also hit his partymates, Presidential chief staff Michael Defensor, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya, and Malabon-Navotas Representative Federico Sandoval II, who he said used to be the "spice boys" of the House of Representatives but had become the "Liberal pro-JDV," referring to Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Bukidnon Representative Nerius Acosta, LP's executive vice chairman, claimed Drilon's group remained the legitimate party, as recognized by its previous presidents like former senators Jovito Salonga, and Wigberto Tañada, and former education secretary Florencio Abad.

Acosta reiterated that the supposed ouster of Drilon from the party was a "grand deception" by Malacañang.

Gascon agreed, saying that what happened was a "Malacañang coup" and "Malacanang's strategy towards a creeping martial law."

Demoralized over the rift, Palawan Representative Abraham Mitra took an indefinite leave of absence from the LP and joined other partymates who might act as arbiters to the two factions.

Mitra said he would be encouraging "party reunification by staying on the sidelines and joining partymates with the same call instead of choosing, which of the two groups should I align with."

"There should be a group in the middle to arbitrate and to serve as bridge. Because if every LP member will be made to choose which side he or she must affiliate with, then the LP will be irreversibly split," he said in a statement.

He called on his partymates to remain loyal to the party but not to any of its factions, as he expressed hope that these differences would soon be settled.

"There should be no party exodus. Hold on to the party membership and keep away from being the subject of a tug-of-war," he said.

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