Cebu mayor decides to quit LP

CEBU CITY – On the eve of the period for filing certificates of candidacy for the 2013 elections, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama announced Sunday he is leaving the Liberal Party (LP).

“Starting today, I will declare having severed my ties with the LP. However, it should be emphasized that I and Team Rama will continue to support the agenda of President Benigno Aquino III,” the mayor said in a news conference he called at Rajah Park Hotel on Sunday.

“My ties with the LP will already cease to exist and I would not be any more connecting with the said party,” he added.

The mayor did not provide specific details on what prompted him to make such a decision but pointed out that the media have been reporting about it.

He apparently referred to his letter to Aquino as well as to LP president and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, asking that he and his group be given a certificate of nomination for the 2013 elections.

Rama has not received any response from the LP headquarters in Manila.

LP’s choice

Candidates for the May 2013 election have today until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 5, to file their certificates of candidacy.

The mayor had earlier said he deserves to be given the party nomination, considering that he is a bona fide member of the LP. He is also paying their dues and regularly attends party events.

But the LP already gave a certificate of nomination to Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK), which is headed by Representative Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district). Osmeña will be Rama’s opponent in next year’s mayoral race. The two used to be political allies for at least six terms straight.

Asked if somebody from the LP recently called informing him that the party will not be supporting him in the 2013 elections, Rama said he doesn’t want to say anything about it.

“It’s better for them (LP) to make their pronouncement before everybody and I will answer it point by point. I don’t want to be their spokesperson,” he said.

A source said that Rama received a call from Roxas in Saturday, informing him that the LP will be supporting a non-LP member instead of the reelectionist.


Osmeña said he expected the mayor’s move.

“It’s expected because that’s what happens if you don’t give what he wants,” he said.

Also, Osmeña said nothing is unusual with the mayor’s decision, since he is cutting his ties with everyone.

“Remember, he was the one who left BOPK. He also severed ties with the captains who campaigned and voted for him,” he said.

The congressman alleged that some LP members, particularly those in Cebu Province, don’t want to support Rama because he expressed support for Governor Gwendolyn Garcia before she withdrew her plan to run for senator.

Asked if he will also be leaving LP just like Rama, Team Rama’s south district congressional candidate lawyer Aristotle Batuhan said: “I remain liberal but not necessarily part of the LP.”

Batuhan said that in recent political developments, he didn’t see the principles of justice, equity, and fairness being espoused by the LP.

Asked what his plans are now, Rama said he and his group will be independent candidates.

He refused to issue a statement when asked whether or not he will be running under Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) or join the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) coalition.

“We just have to take it one at a time. That matter (joining other national party) will be tackled in the days to come because Team Rama has many activities leading toward the filing of the COC. There will be an appropriate time for that,” he said.

New ally?

Reports circulated Sunday, though, that a spokesperson of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Joey Salgado, said that Rama will be running under UNA.

Salgado, according to the report, said that Rama accepted the vice president’s invitation to run under the coalition when they met in a wedding last Saturday night.

But the mayor refused to confirm UNA’s statements. He also said he has no ill feelings toward the LP.

“I never consider anger. There is always an abundance of forgiveness, scarcity of anger and never-ending love. What is important for me is serving the people,” he said.

When he made the announcement of leaving LP Sunday, the mayor was joined by all the members of Team Rama.

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