May 22, 2019
SEN. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has resigned as president of the Liberal Party (LP) for his apparent failure to help the Otso Diretso opposition Senate slate win in the May 13 midterm elections.
Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte also resigned as LP secretary general.
However, Vice President Maria Leonora “Leni” Robredo, LP chairman, did not accept their resignation.
“The VP has not accepted Sen. Kiko’s and Cong[ressman] Kit’s resignations. Much work remains to be done, and they will do it together,” Barry Gutierrez, her spokesman, said in a statement.
Pangilinan, in a statement issued on Monday, said he took “full responsibility for the results of the national elections, which saw the opposition slate Otso Diretso suffer a complete shutout.”
The candidates were reelectionist Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th, Rep. Gary Alejano, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, civic leader Samira Gutoc, election lawyer Romulo “Romy” Macalintal, former Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada, and former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
“As campaign manager for the Otso Diretso slate, I was unable to ensure our victory in the elections and I, therefore, assume full responsibility for the outcome and hold myself primarily accountable for this defeat and have tendered my resignation as president of the LP effective June 30, 2019,” Pangilinan said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he was “deeply saddened” by Pangilinan’s decision to give up his post.
“We did not expect it, especially in times like this when we need a steady hand to lead the party alongside Vice President Leni Robredo. We are witness on how Sen. Pangilinan worked very hard and diligently to campaign for Otso Diretso candidates. Unfortunately, we lost,” Drilon said.
Malacañang lauded Pangilinan’s action.
“That’s commendable. He accepts defeat,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo said the opposition candidates lost because the people did not believe in them.
“Sa amin, kaya natalo sila dahil ang taumbayan hindi naniwala sa kanila. Mas naniwala kay Presidente [Rodrigo] Duterte (For us, they lost because the people did not believe in them. They believed in President Duterte),” he said.
“This is a referendum of the performance of this President. They didn’t raise the issue against the candidates endorsed by the President or Mayor Sara, but they concentrated and focused on the performance of the President and the issues raised against him. And the people simply repudiated them,” he added, referring to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who heads the administration-backed regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
With a reports from Catherine Valente
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