(STAR) By Perseus Echeminada - Kampil, Lampi, Lakak or Kalas?

The projected Lakas-Kampi merger has triggered a political party name game of how the union will be called.

Pro-administration parties Lakas-CMD and Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) are already thinking of a new name for their merged party ahead of the 2010 elections.

Kampi spokesman Sorsogon Rep. Jose Solis said the name should be representative of the two parties’ values and goals, memorable and catchy enough for instant recall.

“We must coin a name that will send a strong signal, at the same time represent the political platform of the two parties,” Solis told reporters at the weekly Usapang Daungan sa Danarra Hotel forum in Quezon City.

However, Solis said they are exercising caution in coining a new party name to avoid being misinterpreted by their political rivals.

At the forum, Solis and some reporters joked about the possible names for the Lakas-Kampi merger – Lampi, Lakak, Kaspi, Kalas, as well as other unsavory combinations.

Solis said they are mulling a combination of the names of the two parties.

“The Lakas- Kampi union may be called Lakas ng Kampi or LAMMP and other acronyms that contain the name of both parties,” Solis said, adding they would meet on Wednesday to iron out the final details on the merger of the two administration parties.

Meanwhile, Lakas member Parañaque Rep. Eduardo Zialcita said yesterday that the new unity ticket would formally announce its presidential candidate by June.

Zialcita said they would come up with a criteria for the selection of a common presidential candidate once the merger is finalized. They also plan to come out with a tentative list of senatorial candidates.

“Right now we have 30 (candidates) who have signified their intention to run with the proposed merged party. With respect to the presidentiable of Lakas-CMD, we also have our own. But we could coalesce or simply adopt. We have agreed that the candidates should be winnable, competent, with a record of outstanding achievement, so it’s anybody’s ballgame as far as we are concerned,” Zialcita told reporters during the “No Holds Barred” forum at the National Press Club in Manila.

Zialcita, however, said Lakas-CMD might merge with other political parties if the merger with Kampi fails to push through, but he stressed there is every reason for the merger to happen because Lakas and Kampi are already allies in the House.

“Admittedly, we don’t have any extremely popular presidential candidate. But don’t underestimate the likes of Chairman Bayani Fernando, and for that matter (Quezon City) Mayor Sonny Belmonte,” said Zialcita, citing two possible standard-bearers.

Zialcita cited three possible criteria for a presidential candidate – a candidate must have a proven track record in public service, can unite all sectors in the country and be able understand the economy.

Meanwhile, the Coalition for the Deserving, barely two days after it was launched, is already showing signs of cracks after a top official of Aksyon Demokratiko said its central committee did not approve of the alliance.

Aksyon Secretary General Jay Sonza said they were not consulted and Bigkis Pinoy practically raided their ranks when it only consulted four party officials to join the coalition. Sonza said he would bring the issue to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to protect the interest of the political party founded by the late senator Raul Roco.

Lawyer Perfecto Yasay, spokesman for the coalition, on the other hand, said Sonza’s issues have been resolved by the Aksyon leadership. The Coalition for the Deserving, launched to search and field deserving candidates for president and local government positions in the 2010 elections, is composed of Bigkis Pinoy of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chair Efraim Genuino; Kilusang Bagong Pilipino (KBL) founded by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos; Aksyon Demokratiko of Roco; and Partido Para sa Demokratikong Reforma of former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa. - With Sandy Araneta

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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