A POLITICAL bigwig in Cavite and two congresswomen have joined the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party, bringing its strength to the House of Representatives to a total of 45, of which 24 are district lawmakers and 21 are party-list allies.
Rep. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite) was personally sworn into the party by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, Lakas-CMD President, in a hybrid oath-taking ceremony held in Imus, Cavite late afternoon Sunday.
Last week, Cagayan Rep. Samantha Vargas-Alfonso and Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan also joined the Lakas-CMD.
Revilla, formerly with the National Unity Party (NUP), had served as mayor of Bacoor and as member of the Board of Directors of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) before he was elected to the House of Representatives.
“It is time to go back home. Lakas-CMD is home to our family, and it feels good to be back home,” said Revilla. His older brother, Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, is chairman of the Lakas-CMD.
With Rep. Revilla’s rejoining Lakas-CMD, according to Romualdez, the party is now a political force to reckon with in Cavite, the province with the highest number of votes.
“We embrace the return of our brother Strike into the party. Now, Cavite may be considered a Lakas-CMD country and a force to reckon with in the next elections,” Romualdez said.
Vargas-Alfonso and Bautista-Bandigan are now the highest-elected officials of the party in Regions II and XI, respectively.
Vargas-Alfonso’s cousin, Melvin Vargas, Jr., is the incumbent Vice Governor of Cagayan.
Last month, Quezon City Rep. Anthony Peter Crisologo, also a former member of the NUP, took his oath as new member of the Lakas-CMD while Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, an ex-member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), joined the party last September.
The four party-list lawmakers who joined the Lakas-CMD as allies or friends last month were Reps. Rodolfo M. Ordanes (Senior Citizens), Ducielle Marie S. Cardema (Duterte Youth), Angelina Natasha Co (BHW), and Claudine Diana D. Bautista (DUMPER PTDA).
More than preparing for the next elections, Romualdez said the beefing up of Lakas-CMD ranks in the House of Representatives was meant to help President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte pass the remaining legislative agenda of his administration and ensure that genuine reforms are implemented in the last 20 months of his administration.
“With Lakas-CMD gaining momentum in the House of Representatives, our party is ready and prepared to work closely with Speaker Lord Alan Velasco to wrap up the approval of the entire legislative agenda of President Duterte before our term ends in 2022,” Romualdez said.
“Thanks to my partymates and other House members who worked tirelessly since the start of the 18th Congress, we have passed vital pieces of legislation that helped spare our country from the ravages of the COVID (coronavirus disease-19) pandemic. We are willing to do more, if only to help pave the road back to economic recovery and help improve the living condition of our people,” the House Majority Leader added.
Lakas-CMD had produced two chief executives, namely President Fidel Ramos and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who also previously served as Speaker of the House.
Lakas-CMD is composed of Lakas-CMD Vice President for Luzon and Deputy Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo of Pampanga, House Deputy Majority Leader Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II of Zamboanga Sibugay, Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prosperon “Butch” Pichay Jr., Lanao del Sur Rep. Yasser Balindong, Deputy Majority Leader and Pangasinan Rep. Christopher “Toff” de Venecia, Quezon Rep. Aleta Suarez, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Paz Radaza, Negros Occidental Rep. Marilou Arroyo, Misamis Oriental Rep. Christian Unabia, former House Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles, and Catanduanes Rep. Hector Sanchez, Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus “XJ” Romualdo, Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger “Oging” Mercado, Biliran Rep. Gerardo “Gerryboy” Espina Jr., and Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman.
The other party-list lawmakers to complete the 21 Lakas-CMD allies include Tingog Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, Ako Bisaya Rep. Sonny “SL” Lagon, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Alona Rep. Ana Marie Villaraza-Suarez, Ako Bicol Rep. Elizalde Co, Ako Padayon Pilipino Rep. Adriano Ebcas, CWS Rep. Romeo Momo, Sr., GP Rep. Jose Gay Padiernos, Philreca Rep. Presyley de Jesus, Recobodan Rep. Godofredo Guya, TGP Rep. Jose Teves, TUCP Rep. Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Magsasaka Rep. Argel Cabatbat, Deputy Speaker and Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Ang Probinsyano Alfred Delos Santos, and APEC Rep. Sergio Dagooc.
Quezon City Councilor Winnie Castelo, who served three terms as Quezon City congressman and husband of Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo, also joined Lakas-CMD on October 6.
Last June, Romualdez administered the oath as Lakas-CMD members to Bayog Mayor Celso A. Matias, San Miguel Mayor Angelito L. Martinez II and Guipos Mayor Vicente P. Cajeta, all from Zamboanga Sibugay.