Metro Manila, Philippines — Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales forged an alliance with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) along with two other lawmakers from Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Gonzales was joined by fellow Pampanga Rep. Carmelo Lazatin and Siquijor Rep. Zaldy Villa in uniting with the 77-member Lakas-CMD, whose president is House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

“We are very honored to welcome Senior Deputy Speaker Dong, Cong. Jon and Cong. Zaldy to our party,” Romualdez said in a statement on Wednesday

The senior deputy speaker on Monday resigned from PDP-Laban over the remarks made by the political party’s chairperson, former president Rodrigo Duterte, against the lower chamber.

In a TV interview in October, Duterte accused the lower chamber of corruption, even calling it the “most rotten institution” in the country. This was after secret funds of offices led by his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, were transferred to agencies focusing on national security.

Meanwhile, Romualdez welcomed the addition of the three lawmakers to the political party, saying they will increase the Lakas-CMD’s representation in the bigger chamber.

“They are a great addition to the strength and diversity of Lakas-CMD, which is a coalition of hard-working public servants who share a common goal of serving the Filipino people with integrity and dedication under President Marcos’ administration,” the Speaker said in a statement.

Gonzales, Lazatin, and Villa took their oath before Romualdez at the Office of the Speaker in Batasan Complex, Quezon City, bringing the political party’s strength to 77.

Lakas-CMD, the biggest House party, also welcomed Nueva Ecija 1st District Rep. Mikaela Angela Suansing on Tuesday.