By Chito Chavez
A newly formed political party that claims full support to the shift to federalism has requested President Duterte to be its chairman.
Thompson Lantion secretary-general of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) confirmed that the party had already submitted their formal offer to the office of Presidential Management Staff for the President to accept their offer.
In a press briefing in Quezon City, Lantion stressed the party’s overwhelming support to Duterte’s programs will probably convince the President to heed their request.
At present, the party is headed by Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, a lawyer and member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1994.
Castriciones was a former DILG undersecretary before being appointed as DAR chief.
“Our party was just accredited by the Commission on Elections last October and our offer for the President to be our chairman is gaining grounds. 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,’’ Lantion said.
“We hope to introduce President Duterte as new party chairman hopefully at the launch of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas soonest next year,” he added.
Lantion a former spokesman of the Philippine National Police said the party fielded local candidates nationwide from councilor to mayor and governor.
In Metro Manila, the party’s 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,” Lantion said.
He added that Duterte had already reserved two slots for the PFP senatorial bets and “they would be fielding industrialist Elmer Francisco, owner of the Francisco Motors that built new models of jeepney and former DILG Assistant Secretary Jesus Hinlo’’.
Lantion vowed to launch a nationwide campaign on federalism as soon as the speakers training pool has been set up and activated.
He noted the shift to federalism is gaining grounds at the Lower House with the passage of the draft constitution.
However, it is facing a hard time at the Senate due to time constraint as several issues had been unresolved like the debate to limit if not eliminate political dynasty.