Friday, 4 December 2009

What's up? Political heat

Fernan Marasigan
Business Mirror

Villar: NP now stronger

THE Nacionalista Party (NP) is now seeing an unprecedented surge in the number of its members, growing ten-fold over since the start of this year under the leadership of the party president, Sen. Manny Villar.

“I took an oath to reclaim the old glory of the Nacionalista Party and recapture its rich history of unparalleled greatness. Today, I can safely say we are on the right path toward that goal,” Villar, the party’s standard-bearer in next year’s election, said in a statement.

He revealed that from just a few members early this year, the NP’s membership has swelled to more than 6,000.

“This continues to grow by the day as our leaders begin to recognize the party’s stability as an organization and its firm resolve to fight poverty through genuine reforms,” he explained.

Villar said NP is the only party in the country today that can claim to have done more in shaping the country by immensely influencing the course of political history.

“This great party had produced six presidents and thousands of great leaders over a period of more than a century. The ideals and principles that guide the Nacionalista Party up to now are founded on doctrines of independence,” he said.

“We continue to take the side of the oppressed, the masses, the workers, the poor and the dispossessed. This, I believe, is one of the reasons we are growing bigger by the day.”

Last month was a productive one for NP’s efforts to enlist more members, as national and local leaders took oaths of membership with the party almost every day, sometimes by the hundreds.

The latest of these mass oath-takings with the NP was held on November 23, where some 700 incumbent officials across the country swore allegiance to the party in a simple ceremony at the Laurel House in Mandaluyong City.

Two days before that, some 200 grassroots leaders in Batangas took oath as new members of the party in Santo Tomas, Batangas.

“These defections can only mean one thing: 2010 will be a great year for the Nacionalista Party. With our political stock continuously growing, I am confident we can relive the greatness of the Grand Old Party once again,” Villar said.

Vidal on Arroyo’s Congress bid: ‘No big deal’

CARDINAL Ricardo Vidal, archbishop of Cebu, played down Mrs. Arroyo’s candidacy, saying it is her privilege to do so since it is allowed by the Constitution.

Asked by reporters at a Makati hotel if he does not consider as a big deal the President’s decision to hold a lower elective post after relinquishing the presidency, the Cardinal curtly replied; “Why should it be?”

“That is her privilege as a citizen. If she wants her expertise to be shared again, it is up to her,” Vidal stressed.

“If she wants to serve the people, who can stop her?” he added.

Two other bishops defended Mrs. Arroyo’s 2010 bid, indicating that they respect it as an exercise of her legal and democratic rights.

“As a Filipino citizen supporting the ideas of democracy, I have to uphold the Constitution and the law of the land. As long as any move or action of anyone is in conformity with it, I believe I have to respect and uphold his or her rights,” Bishop Emilio Marquez of the Diocese of Lucena said in a statement.

Bishop Rodolfo Beltran of the Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe in Northern Luzon said legal experts have assured him that there are no constitutional or statutory obstacles to President Arroyo’s candidacy.

“If the President is motivated by a desire to continue serving her constituency in Pampanga as their representative in Congress, the purpose is noble and it is to be lauded,” Beltran said in his own written statement.

(With R. Alluad and C. Monforte)

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