LP MEMBERS OF HOUSE ENOUGH TO CHALLENGE JDV'S LEADERSHIP

MANILA,  JUNE 9, 2004
(STAR) 
By Jose Rodel Clapano  -  The Liberal Party (LP) will try to gain control of the House of Representatives and play a vital role in the incoming administration, party president Batanes Rep. Florencio Abad said yesterday.

At a press conference at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, Abad said the 31 LP members in the House is enough to challenge the leadership of Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., national chairman of the ruling Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party.

"We are a much bigger party today in the House. You donít need to (have) 100 (members) to be competitive in the leadership of the House," he said.

Abad said that LP members are waiting for the 22-man joint committee to finish the canvassing of votes for president and vice president before they fine-tune their moves to change the House leadership.

He noted that Tarlac Rep. Benigno Aquino III is among those likely to be fielded by the LP against De Venecia.

"Once the canvassing is out of the way, we will start to consider that question. Although right now, we are gathered here to discuss principally what will be the role of the LP ó not only in the House, but also in the Senate and ... in the incoming government. We would like to play an active role in all these arena," Abad said, expressing confidence that the joint committee will finish the canvass some days before June 30.

Abad, who eyed the speakership when the 12th Congress convened in 2001, said the LP has been in the thick of things in the past few years, both in the legislature and the executive branch of government. He cited the partyís role in the attempt to impeach Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. last year.

"We will not stop there. We will continue to assert a more substantial and active role, especially now that the party has grown considerably in the House and the Senate and the national government. In the coming years, we would like to increase the numbers of our ranks," Abad said.

He added that the LP has constituted a committee to scout for positions and members they will recommend for Cabinet posts.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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