THE Liberal Party (LP) has been silent on charges that it is bullying the political opposition. Cited as basis are the actions taken by the Department of the Interior and Local Government against Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda and Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, and the suspension of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
No less than Vice President Jejomar Binay and his compatriots in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) have called the DILG actions in Cebu politically motivated, designed to allow Cebu’s vice governor, Agnes Almendras Magpale, the sister of Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, to ascend to the governorship and help the gubernatorial candidacy of LP’s
Hilario Davide III in the 2013 polls.
Governor Espino’s Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), LP’s coalition partner, says that the DILG moves blatantly help the 2013 gubernatorial bid of LP’s Hernani Braganza.
That the LP hasn’t commented on these accusations to date raises the question as to whether there is anyone running the party.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas went on leave as LP president when he took over the DILG. It’s unclear whether it’s Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, or Budget Secretary Florencio Abad or Sen. Frank Drilon who has taken over the LP reins. But the big drop in President Aquino’s approval ratings suggests that the LP better get its act together and clarify the conjoined issues of supposed bullying and a leaderless LP.
In this regard, the impression that the LP is leaderless is highlighted by the fact that an LP provincial governor and LP vice mayor were not sustained by the DILG in the mayoralty infighting in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Unanimously convicted twice of graft by the Sandiganbayan, Muñoz Mayor Efren Alvarez appealed his case to the Supreme Court, which rejected two motions for reconsideration and issued a final and executory decision that caused the Sandiganbayan to issue a warrant of arrest against him. With Alvarez absenting himself from city hall after the warrant was issued, the residents of Muñoz asked for the intervention of Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali. This led the DILG and Governor Umali to swear in the vice mayor so that the city’s business could continue. A few days later, Alvarez suddenly surfaced, claiming that the Sandiganbayan had voided his arrest warrant and that the Supreme Court is now reviewing his case.
Given the Nueva Ecija incident, the LP has a lot of work to do if it is to be taken seriously as a political party when it appears it can’t even hold on to a won legal case.