Admitting there have been worse political tensions he could feel due to the running rift between the two congressmen in the province, Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario announced Monday that he has “officially resigned” from the Liberal Party and declared that henceforth he becomes “officially independent” and “not committed to any party.”
Del Rosario held a press conference Monday morning inside the governor’s conference room in the Capitol at Mankilam, Tagum City.
“I’m bridging a gap and I cannot do it if I favor one party, and it is therefore for this reason that I am declaring my independence from any political party. This careful decision is premised by my avowed commitment to put the best interests of our people over and above any personal and political interests,” the governor said, reading his prepared press statement.
He stressed his loyalty belongs to the Dabaonon people and not to any political party even as he called he called for unity of officials in the province, “to set aside differences… to accomplish projects for the depressed and underserved communities.”
After reading his statement, he answered several questions from mediamen.
He said he had not talked to anybody about his declaration to be independent except his father, former Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario. He said he has been thinking this for a month and a half.
As he made his declaration to be independent, he ascertained that other officials like the board members would call him and ask what they are going to do because of his being independent now. “I will tell them simple lang, you join the group of Bebot Alvarez, our Speaker.”
Prior to his declaration, there have been a lot of speculations about Del Rosario’s dilemma of joining the PDP-Laban party led by 1st District Cong. and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez knowing of the the governor’s familial relationship in a clan with 2nd District Cong. Antonio “Tony Boy” Floirendo, Jr, whom Alvarez has serious spat with that already involved a Sandiganbayan’s case stemming from the questioned Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between TADECO banana giant and the Bureau of Corrections.
One speculation from pundits said that in the end Del Rosario would have to support Floirendo as “blood is thicker than water” and considering the running reconciliation of the Del Rosario and Floirendo families for over seven years now, which resulted to political unification of political parties in the province for two elections already.
Another speculation has it that Del Rosario is “yet being screened by Alvarez for loyalty check” as to whether he has to be accepted in the PDP-Laban fold considering the charge of political lobotomy of the Del Rosarios against Alvarez in the early 2000s.
During the mass oathtaking of new PDP-Laban members in Samal Island two months ago, the Speaker in his speech strongly lambasted Floirendos for allegedly taking advantage of the JVA since 1969 owing to its low rent of more than 5,000 hectares of BoC’s Dapecol area as he made sniping against the Del Rosarios, mentioning that elder Rosario might be dragged in the JVA case.
Alvarez in various media interviews also said he is also preparing a plunder case against Floirendo family members over the same JVA issue, which the Floreindo and Tadeco lawyers already refuted as assailable in various fora including the joint Congressional committee hearings.
But during the press conference, the governor repeatedly said he is calling for unity and hoped that “because my being independent now I will be able to usher unity in the province”, adding that he then assumed that by being independent “it would be easier now to talk to both sides” than to be in the situation that he is with one political party. “How can I call for unity if I side one of them?”
He though acknowledged that both the congressmen and Floirendo family have contributed much for the good of the province as he vowed to continue supporting President Duterte.
He said his next move would still be dependent on the two congressmen, like if in the coming days they could have amicable settlement, “my next move is to think which party I go.”
“I will remain neutral. Grabe na kaayo ang tension dire. You can feel the tug-of-war between the two districts and I cannot allow myself to be pulled by these two forces. I have to stand my ground as a governor of this province,” Del Rosario said.
He added that as things unfold these days, “there are people who are pushing the division of this province” and “there are a lot of intrigues that had come up”.
He also questioned why should people be involved with the Alvarez-Floirendo rift “because whatever disagreements they have are just disagreements between the two of them.”
“I’m against to that loyalty check because at the end of the day my allegiance is on the people and not the political party, which is just a vehicle to be connected to an administration or to bring together people.”
He said that though the “disagreements” between Alvarez and his uncle Cong. Tony Boy have not yet really affected the province, but “the tension is there” and “if it continues you can be sure that magkagubot gyod dire (trouble would really come in the province).
“Basta I can feel it. The tension if this continues ang daming masakripisyo
and they will feel it also… I know a lot of people want to see disunity, because
if there’s disunity, there’s opportunity,” Gov. Del Rosario added.
He said that in his 15 years of being a public official it is only now that politics seems to come too early in the province.
The governor also bared that he plans to finish three terms as governor and support all the incumbent officials if they seek in the same capacity in the coming midterm polls by 2019, “regardless of the party they belong.”
As to the issue that the Del Rosarios would be dragged in the case relating the TADECO-BuCor JVA case, he said let the proper court decide for it while they just have to just continue serving the people.
But he said that “for as long as the two congressmen cannot settle the issues among themselves, I’m afraid I would have to remain independent” until the next election time.
Buzzwords have been swirling in the rounds for a month now that Compostela Valley senior Board and ex-Gov. Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy is training his sight to run for governor in Davao del Norte, which he is originally identified with being a Tagumenyo native son before his successful forays in Comval from the start of being a political stranger there.
A highly placed source said Uy has been physically circulating himself in various towns and cities in Davao del Norte “to dovetail himself with the people and know their pulses.” (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)