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Lakas, Kampi heads resign posts

Speaker Prospero Nograles and Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte resigned on Monday as presidents of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi, Partner of the Free Filipino), respectively, to fast-track the merger the two administration parties.

The two announced their simultaneous resignations at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“In order to fast-track [the] process of [the] merger and give [President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] a free hand in determining the appropriate leadership structure for the prospective consolidated party, we both hereby announce our respective resignation[s] as presidents of Lakas and Kampi.

“The reason why we both resigned as respective presidents of our parties is that we want to give [a] free hand to the President to thresh out whatever remaining kinks [to the merger process and] to ensure that [the] merger will be achieved within [a] reasonable time.”

They said the merger, which is being forged in the hopes of fielding a unified slate in the 2010 elections, is expected to be completed in 45 days.

Villafuerte also said Lakas and Kampi are in full electoral mode.

Nograles said a national consolidation and unification committee has also been formed to address “all requisite issues pertaining to the merger, including the activation of an equitable process of arbitration to settle intra-coalition disputes at the local level.”

The committee will be headed by presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio.

It will be composed of Lakas and Kampi members namely Mandaluyong City Mayor Benhur Abalos (Lakas) and Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing (Kampi) for the National Capital Region; Secretary to the Cabinet Silvestre Bello (Lakas) and Sorsogon Representative Jose Solis (Kampi) for Luzon; Majority Leader Arthur Defensor (Lakas) and Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia (Kampi) for the Visayas; and Local Water Utilities Administrator Prospero Pichay (Lakas) and Surigao del Norte Representative Francisco Matugas (Kampi) for Mindanao.

Asked why the parties are giving Arroyo a direct hand in the merger, Villafuerte said that, as the chair of the two parties, she would have a “more persuasive effect” on members.

Nograles added that the “success or failure” of the two political parties lies with Arroyo. “The buck stops [with] her.”

Villafuerte added: “The reason why we both resigned as respective president of our parties is that we want to give free hand to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to thresh out whatever remaining kinks there are to ensure that the parameters and point of references of a consolidation or a merger will be achieved within reasonable time.”

“Recognizing that while there may be local conflicts, I think we will strive to decide definitely clearly and categorically that we will have single candidates in each and every local jurisdiction, congressional candidates will have to be selected in anticipation of 2010 polls and the only way to do so is to give a vote of confidence a free hand to the President in order that the process that we will have to hold will be done smoothly and both of us will have to be unburdened of continuing to defend our respective positions in favor of whatever compromises maybe arranged,” he explained.

Villafuerte said despite the merger, the two parties would continue to coalesce with other parties such as the Nationalist People’s Coalition of businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

He also said the merger does not mean candidates, including possible presidential bets, would come only from Lakas or Kampi. (inquirer.net)

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