BARELY a month before the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC), the Liberal Party (LP) is still reportedly persuading Cagayan de Oro second district Representative Rufus Rodriguez to join the party.
City Councilor Edgar Cabanlas, a former Lakas-Kampi member who recently joined the LP, said their political line-up is almost complete but they still want Rodriguez in their team.
“The commitment of Rodriguez to our team is a big plus factor in strengthening our line-up for next year’s election,” Cabanlas said.
He said they are still weighing things up since Rodriguez is neutral to everybody.
“At the proper time, we will know his final decision,” Cabanlas said.
But a source close to Rodriguez said the lawmaker has not yet given any statement on the offer.
The source said since Rodriguez is a “loyalist” of former president Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, which coalesced with the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) of Vice President Jejomar Binay, “perhaps he would rather stay in his party than to make enemies with other parties, particularly his former coalesce, Padayon Pilipino of Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Y. Emano.”
Upon hearing this, Cabanlas said LP will respect Rodriguez’s decision.
“But he is much welcome to our party,” he said.
However, in a text message to Sun.Star, Rodriguez denied that he is being courted by LP.
“It will be a big honor to be invited. But, I am still a member of Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino,” he said.
Earlier, Rodriguez said their family will not interfere with the local party and its candidates.
Reports said LP is eyeing Rodriguez’s younger sister Jocelyn, incumbent village chief of Nazareth, as a possible runningmate of Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, who will be running as mayor in 2013.
“We will not allow Bebot (Jocelyn) to be the runningmate of any local candidates. The family agreed on that already,” he said.
A political analyst said the line-up between LP and Padayon Pilipino would surely give “a tough competition” in the 2013 mid-term elections.
LP will support Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno in the mayoralty seat against incumbent Mayor Vicente Y. Emano of Padayon Pilipino, while Cabanlas will reportedly run as vice mayor against Caesar Ian Acenas.
Cabanlas earlier said if there would be other “suitable” candidates that the LP can field, he would not run as vice mayor.
Meanwhile, Carmen village chief Rolando “Klarex” Uy of LP will reportedly run as representative for the city’s first district against incumbent congressman Jose Benjamin Benaldo.
If Rodriguez will join LP in the congressional seat of the second district, he would be running against City Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya.
The political analyst, who requested not to be named, said Moreno’s team may have the blessing of the LP but they should not underestimate the supporters of Emano’s Padayon Pilipino.
“In the election, it’s the Kagay-anons who will solely decide on who to vote,” he said.