Lacierda says LP defectors opt to ignore Aquino’s popularity

PRESIDENTIAL Spokesman Edwin Lacierda pinned the decision of some politicians to leave the ruling party on the defector’s shoulders.

“Remember this is a party, this is a president whose popularity, whose goodwill continues to be strong until the very late stage of his administration. So given that, if you want to jump away from the party, it’s your call. Do you want to remain in the party? Well and good. But we make no judgment. You determine the circumstances, which you are confronted with, and good luck to your decision,” Lacierda said over the weekend.

Lacierda did not name the defectors but reports over the weekend said among the early “jumpers” to the camp of the vastly popular Sen. Grace Poe included Reps. Enrico Echiveri of Caloocan and Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar. Echiveri and Evardone were known to be staunch supporters of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before becoming apologists of the Aquino administration.

“You know, it’s a judgment call for each and every politician how he views himself in the light of the political policies that he’s involved in. If he’s a local politician, he will view himself in the light of factors and circumstances in his local political sphere,” according to Lacierda.

But he quickly added: “Let me just say this distinct matter: You’re looking at a president [Aquino] with eight months left in his administration. You’re also looking at a president whose approval numbers are stratospheric—64 [percent], that’s high—and you’re also looking at the potential impact of those high numbers, not only to the presidential standard-bearer or the vice presidential standard-bearer, but as well as to the local politicians running in their districts, in their provinces, in their cities, in their municipalities. You would have to consider that.”

The Palace official said they would not take it against the early defectors for showing their true colors this early and even wished them luck.

“It’s their call.”

Asked if the Palace was pleased to be rid its ranks of political chameleons who had shown their colors this early, Lacierda replied: “One makes a choice based on the factors that he is presented with, so bahala na po ang mga pulitiko kung ano sa tingin nila ang mas makakabuti sa kanila and we will not make a judgment out of it.”

Meanwhile, Poe’s citizenship remains a question and may hobble her bid to run for the country’s highest political post.

Three legal experts have agreed that the initial consensus of the Senate Electoral Tribunal  to drop the residency issue decision has not put an end to the question whether Poe has met the residency requirement for a presidential bet under the Philippine Constitution.

“Later on, after Poe files her certificate of candidacy [COC] next month, the residency issue against her can once again be revived, no longer for her senatorial bid but for her presidential bid,” former University of the Philippines law dean Pacifico Agabin said.

Former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez said the residency issue, when applied to Poe’s presidential bid, should be treated separately and differently.

“It will be a new disqualification case once she files her COC for president,” he said.

With Joel R. San Juan and Recto Mercene


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