PHILIPPINE Vice President Leni Robredo is now the official chairperson of the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP), whose former members are now part of the opposition.
Robredo’s chairmanship was ratified by the LP’s national executive council during its party members’ lowkey meeting held on Thursday, August 10 at the University of the Philippines (UP).
In an Inquirer report, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr. quoted Robredo saying that the LP must rebuild itself and focus on grassroots campaigns, “not so much on politicians.”
Present in the meeting were Senators Franklin Drilon and Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, and House Representatives Kit Belmonte, Nene Sato, Teddy Baguilat, Edcel Lagman, Raul Daza, and Bolet Banal.
Also in attendance were former House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, and former LP Presidents Mar Roxas, Butch Abad, and Wigberto Tanada, among others.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan was also elected as the party’s president, while former Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III was conferred the title chairman emeritus.
In a statement, Pangilinan said he chose to take the LP presidency “not because of the certainty of victory, but because of the certainty of our conviction.”
The LP was the ruling party during the former Aquino administration. Most of its members switched to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP)-Laban party of current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
The party, which previously had over 100 members, now only has 30. The PDP, on the other hand, boasts a “supermajority” in Congress.
Pangilinan said among his plans as the party president include the rebuilding of the LP as a “genuine people’s party” by recruiting “new blood” from the academe, basic sectors, civil society organizations, entrepreneurs, the religious and faith-based sectors, arts and culture, and women.
“Sa krisis, sinasabi nila, nariyan din ang oportunidad. At narito tayo humaharap sa oportunidad na palakasin ang ating partido upang maging tunay na partido ng taumbayan (In crisis lies opportunity. And we are now faced with the opportunity to strengthen our party to become a genuine representative of the people),” Pangilinan added. (Dana Sioson/AJPress)