Liberal Party (LP) Congressman Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao has advised the PDP-laban party to respect the LP members and to not force them into joining the ruling party of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte. Baguilat warned that forcing LP members to join the ruling party could encourage turncoatism in the Philippines.
“This encourages turncoatism, which is a bane of Philippine politics,” Baguilat said. Turncoatism refers to the switching of a person’s party and allegiance to the winning side.
“This is why it should not be a condition for LP members to switch parties before they become part of the coalition,” Baguilat added.
Rep. Baguilat was a former Executive Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from 1987 to 1991. In 1992, he became at that time the youngest Councilor ever in the country at the age of 25.
Baguilat then became mayor of Kiangan from 1995 to 2001 and was even awarded the Dangal ng Bayan Award and One of the Ten Most Outstanding Civil Servants in the Philippines by the Civil Service Commission.
He was elected as the Governor of Ifugao in 2001 and in 2007, leading the province to a stronger economy and development. In 2010, Baguilat started to serve the province as the Representative of the Lone District of Ifugao. He has decided to stay as a member of the LP and is planning to become a member of the opposition in the next congress.
However, President Benigno Aquino III understands why many members of the LP are switching to the ruling party.
“Kasi tatandaan natin, bawat kinatawan, siyempre kumakatawan ka lang sa isang distrito, ikaw 'yung kanilang kinatawan at kailangan pangalagaan mo 'yung interes ng iyong sinasakupan. So, baka sa kanilang pananaw, mas matutupad nila 'yung kanilang mga pangako sa distrito pagsanib sa ibang grupo,” Aquino explained.
(We must remember that a lawmaker represents the interests of his or her respective district. So maybe, in their view, they would be able to fulfill their promises to their respective district better if they would switch to another group.)