PRESIDENT Duterte as chairman of the newly-formed political party Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP)?
As far as PFP secretary-general Thomas Lantion is concerned, the group will most likely introduce the charismatic President as their chairman during its launching the soonest possible time next year.
In a press conference, Lantion said they have already submitted their formal offer to the office of the Presidential Management Staff for Duterte to accept.
“We hope to introduce President Duterte as new party chairman at the launching of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas soonest next year,” he said.
With President Duterte as party chairman, the group is confident that the awareness campaign for a shift to federalism would further gain prominence, said Lantion.
At present, the party is headed by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, a lawyer and a member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1994.
Prior to his post as DAR chief, Castriciones was an undersecretary at the Department of the Interior and Local Government. He was instrumental also in the nationwide campaign to convince then Davao City Mayor Duterte to join the 2016 presidential derby which the latter handily won.
“Our party was just accredited by the Commission on Elections last October and our offer for the President to be our chairman is gaining ground. Soon, we will hold an audience with him in Malacañang as per our information from the Presidential Management Staff,” said the retired police general and former chief of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
The former spokesman of the Philippine National Police said their party has local candidates nationwide from councilor to mayor and governor. In Metro Manila, their chairman is Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte who is running for the mayoral post next year.
“We are forging alliances with major parties like the Nationalist People’s Party and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, among others, for the national and local candidates in 2019 polls,” he said without giving more details.
He added that they would be fielding industrialist Elmer Francisco, owner of jeepney maker Francisco Motors, and former DILG Assistant Secretary Javee Hinlo, who now sits as a Board Member of Land Bank.
Party members are also considering pushing the Senate bid of popular singer Freddie Aguilar.
Lantion vowed to launch a nationwide campaign for federalism as soon as the speakers training pool has been set up and activated.
The shift to federalism is gaining ground at the Lower House with the passage of the draft constitution, he said.