By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
An estimated 14,000 Negrense officials yesterday took their oaths to become new members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) during ceremonies in Victorias City and Bacolod City.
According to crowd estimates, 10,000 participated at the Victorias City Sports Complex, while another 4,000 joined a ceremony at the University of Negros Occidental-Recoletos (UNO-R).
PDP-Laban secretary-general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, led the oath-taking, alongside Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Bataan first district Rep. Geraldine Roman, and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Deputy Commissioner Jesus ‘Clint’ Aranas.
Alvarez warned local officials to not involve themselves with illegal activity, especially illegal drugs.
He noted, if proven guilty of such activity, they would be immediately expelled from the party.
15 local mayors were among those taking oaths, including Frederick Palanca of Victorias City, Mayor Marvin Malacon of EB Magalona, Mark Andrew Golez of Silay City, Neil Lizares III of Talisay City, Andrew Montelibano of Murcia, Lourdes Escalante of Manapla, Patrick Escalante of Cadiz City, Richard Jaojoco of Toboso, Magdaleno Peña of Moises Padilla, Jilson Tubillara of San Enrique, Joselito Malabor of Isabela, Enrique Miravalles of Valladolid, Eddie Montero of Escalante City, Rhumyla Nicor Mangilimutan of La Castellana, and Jose Nadie Arceo of Hinigaran.
Among the Bacolod City officials in attendance included Mayor Evelio Leonardia; Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran; Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya; City Councilors Em Ang, Bart Orola, and Caesar Distrito; and former City Councilor Bobby Rojas.
Last year, Leonardia, Familiaran, the eight Grupo Progreso councilors, and City Administrator John Orola joined the PDP-Laban.
Gasataya recently revealed he would not be joining the ruling party, pointing out his current affiliation, the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), has a working relationship with the PDP-Laban./WDJ