(UPDATE) Reports of 'exodus' from Lakas-Kampi 'erroneous'

Posted at 11/08/2009 2:57 PM | Updated as of 11/08/2009 7:02 PM

MANILA - Reports of an "exodus" of members from the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD party are "erroneous" or "grossly out of perspective," a party official said Sunday.

"Reports of a so-called exodus of Lakas-Kampi members are either erroneously or grossly out of perspective," party secretary Gabriel Claudio said in an email message Sunday.

Claudio said that two of the so-called "major defectors," Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and Cavite Governor Erineo "Ayong" Maliksi, are "not and have never been Lakas or Kampi members). Lim, he said, was a former member of the Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP), while Maliksi is already a member of the LP.

Maliksi and his allies in the provinces recently joined the LP, while Lim, although not officially an LP member, is reportedly aligning with the party.

Claudio also said movements of party members are "natural" parts of the political process.

"In other instances, true, there have been defections among local officials and there may even be more. But these are natural and expected consequences of party intramurals and fall-outs from the party's selection process for local candidates," Claudio said.

"Those not chosen or will imminently not be chose will naturally seek shelter with other political partiers or other presidential bets. The admin party is definitely not left with any void at the local level," he said.

He said that these defections help the party, because they will be "spared the agony" of having to arbitrate local conficlts, leaving the party with a "single, solid and formidable lineup of candidates" who could better help the national candidates in their areas in the 2010 elections.

He also reiterated the analogy of "shedding off excess weight," saying that the party will "enter the ring leaner, meaner, and in its best fighting form." (Read: Like Pacquiao, Lakas-Kampi shedding excess weight: Claudio)

Claudio's statement came after Senator Manuel "Mar" Roxas II claimed a mass movement of Lakas party members, including key administration allies, to the Liberal Party (LP) on Saturday. (Read: 3 administration allies join LP)

The LP said key administration allies in the local level, including Alaminos Mayor Hernani Braganza, Pangasinan Rep. Victor Agbayani, and North Cotabato Rep. Bernardo Piñol, took their oath of membership on Friday.

The opposition party said the three officials brought along with them 125 local leaders affiliated with the Lakas-CMD.

Political defections normal, says analyst

Political analyst Ramon Casiple, echoed Claudio's statements, saying defections such as the move of Lakas-Kampi members to the LP are normal.

Casiple, of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said that the reported exodus from Lakas to the LP and the Nacionalista Party could be an indication that the latter two are the "dominant" parties.

He added that this could also mean that the candidates perceive the administration party to be weak, since their presidential bet, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, has yet to select a running mate.

But for Eero Brillantes, political strategist from the marketing and public relations form Mindbullet, those who do not defect will also be seen as loyal party members, and they could benefit from that. With a report from Cecille Lardizabal, ABS-CBN News