President Benigno Aquino III will administer the oath to about 250 new Liberal Party members, about 130 of whom are elected officials of the province with many coming from the Lakas CMD party, during a two-hour visit to Negros Occidental this afternoon.
The president is expected to arrive at the Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City at 1:30 p.m. where he will be welcomed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon, Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District) – LP provincial chairman and Talisay Mayor Eric Saratan.
The president will administer the mass oath-taking rites, deliver a speech and have a photo opportunity with the new LP members before departing for the airport to return to Manila.
Joining the president at the convention today are Senator Franklin Drilon – LP vice chairman, Transportation and Communication Secretary Mar Roxas - LP president, Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo – LP executive vice president, and Deputy House Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III.
There are about 250 elected and non-elected Negrenses who will take their oaths as members of the Liberal Party today, but the number could even increase, Sagay Councilor Bubbles Tolentino of the LP Negros Secretariat said.
The 130 elected officials include Board Member Pedro Zayco, 11 mayors and 12 vice mayors, she said.
The 11 mayors joining the LP are: Araceli Somosa – Calatrava, Marxlen De la Cruz – Don Salvador Benedicto (first district); Leo Rafael Cueva – Sagay, Patrick Escalante – Cadiz and Ma. Lourdes Socorro Escalante – Manapla (second district); Eric Saratan – Talisay City (third district); Francisco Nazareno - Moises Padilla, Francisco Malabor – Isabela, Alejandro Mirasol – Binalbagan and Alberto Nicor Jr. – La Castellana (fifth district); and Jechonias Manzano – Candoni (sixth district), Tolentino said.
The 12 vice mayors are Santiago Barcelona - Escalante (first district), Kent Javelosa – Sagay, Samson Mirhan – Cadiz, Edgar Pagayunan – Manapla (first district), Niel Lizares – Talisay (third district), Abner Jardinico – San Enrique, Jose Nadie Arceo – Hinigaran, Felix Feria – La Castellana, Cipriano Remo - Moises Padilla, Omar Gayares – Isabela (fifth district), Ma Gina Lizares – Sipalay and Janet Cubid – Hinobaan (sixth district), she added.
Gov. Marañon yesterday clarified that while he is going to the LP affair, he is not joining the party. Marañon, who heads the Nationalist People Coalition-Negros and United Negros Alliance, said his NPC and UNA already have alliances with the LP.
Mayor De La Cruz said joining the LP was his way of supporting President Aquino. He said Lakas KAMPI, his former party, has not been heard of since the last election, and he does not think it will be active in fielding candidates in 2013.
He said he joined the LP on the invitation of Benitez with the knowledge of Rep. Julio Ledesma IV (Neg. Occ., 1st District).
De la Cruz said he is running for re-election as mayor of Don Salvador Benedicto and is not threatened by the possible running of lawyer Joemax Ortiz against him. Ortiz is not from DSB, de la Cruz said.
Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, LP director general, yesterday led a Basic Orientation on Liberal Democracy (BOLD) for regional LP facilitators and trainers that is a requirement before oathtaking at the Nature’s Village Resort.
To be a Liberal today means to uphold freedom, fight corruption, respect the majesty of the democratic rule and to take responsibility for the nation’s future, the participants were told.
In the BOLD we show them the history of the party and the principles it fights for so they will understand the party they are joining, Sta. Rita said.
She said the LP has been going around the country conducting oath -takings of new members, the latest of which were in Aklan, Antique and Siquijor.
Efforts at strengthening of the LP is ongoing nationwide, she said.
The LP membership is not just open to politicians but to members of different sectors of society, she added.
She said the LP is open to alliances, noting its existing partnership with the United Negros Alliance.*CPG