Senator Francis Pangilinan resigns as opposition party president following huge election defeat

Citing the opposition Liberal Party’s (LP) massive loss in last week’s midterm elections, Senator Francis Pangilinan announced his resignation as party president today.

Pangilinan made the shocking announcement via a Facebook post which appeared on his official account, in which he said that he is assuming full responsibility for the outcome of the elections.

“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,” he wrote. Pangilinan said that his resignation as party president will go into effect on June 30.

The Otso Diretso slate (translation: “Straight Eight”) is the nickname given to eight senatorial candidates which the LP fielded in the recent elections.

Pangilinan has sent his resignation letter to LP’s chairwoman, Vice President Leni Robredo, reported CNN Philippines. 

The Commission on Elections has not proclaimed any winning candidates from last week’s elections, but its partial and official count shows that none of the opposition party’s senatorial candidates have entered the top 12. Those who appeared poised to become senators are either independent candidates or allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Only 12 people will be elected into the Senate for this election cycle.

Pangilinan became LP president in November 2016, replacing former Transport and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya as acting president and former presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who was LP’s president on leave, reported ABS-CBN News. 

The LP was founded in 1946 by former president Manuel Roxas, the grandfather of Manuel “Mar”. It was the ruling party after former president Benigno Aquino III won the election in 2010, but it became the opposition with the 2016 victory of President Duterte, the chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan.

Since the 2016 presidential elections, critics have vociferously attacked the LP — usually online — often calling its members “dilawan” (“yellows”), referring to the party’s official color. Duterte has alleged that some of LP’s members are behind a plot to discredit his government and oust him from power, although he said that he has no plans of filing charges against them.

This article, Senator Francis Pangilinan resigns as opposition party president following huge election defeat, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!