FOUR congressional leaders led by two deputy speakers were sworn in yesterday as new members of the National Unity Party (NUP), further raising its number of 61 with district seats to 49 and 12 party-list affiliates in the House of Representatives.
Deputy Speaker and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali ‘Boyet” Gonzales II; Deputy Speaker and Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez; and La Union 2nd District Rep. Sandra Eriguel, M.D, the chairperson of the House Committee on Social Services took their oath as new members of the party before NUP president and Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. in ceremonies held at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City.
“The entry of four new members to the NUP will further help us in
shepherding the swift passage of the legislative agenda of President
Rodrigo Duterte,” said Barzaga, NUP president.
Cagayan de Oro 1st District Rep. Rolando Uy followed after and was sworn as NUP member by Secretary General and Masbate 1st District Rep. Narciso Bravo Jr.
Witnessing the oathtaking of the new members were top NUP officials led by its Chairman, and former Local Government Secretary, Ronaldo Puno; Vice Chairman for Internal Affairs and Antipolo 1st District Rep. Roberto Puno; Vice President for Luzon and Bulacan 2nd District Rep, Gavini Panch;, Treasurer and Cavite 6th District Rep Luis Ferrer IV; Deputy Secretary General for Public Affairs and House Deputy Secretary General Brian Raymund Yamsuan; and Deputy Secretary General
for Political Affairs Reginald Velasco.
“The NUP has always been aligned with the administration and the more members we have, the better the coordination in passing the priority measures of the President. We have several problems right now, among them, the Taal volcano eruption and the spread of novel coronavirus It would be easier to pass the priority legislation of President Duterte on these concerns if we have the numbers in Congress,” said Barzaga when asked about the significance of the growing number of NUP members
in the House.
Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a stalwart of PDP-Laban, said “it’s the prerogative of the congressmen to choose
“We respect their decision to transfer to another party. But this is not the first time it happened. For me this is not a cause for alarm because this is how Philippine politics work,” said Pimentel.
Gonzales, a veteran lawmaker, said that in his long stay in the House, he has seen political parties come and go, but NUP has stayed strong regardless of the election results and the change in administration,
“More importantly, we’d like to be at home and we consider the NUP as
our true home in Congress na nakakatulong sa ating bansa,” Gonzales
Fernandez said he joined the NUP “to help pursue the President’s legislative agenda in the House, and because of his close personal ties to its members.”
Eriguel, describing the NUP as “the party of the future,” said she joined because the party is “strong and very supportive” of its members.”
Aside from having 49 House seats, the NUP is also allied with 12 party-list members under the Coalition for Peace and Development. Deputy Speaker and Davao City 1st District Paolo Duterte is an honorary member.