Francis Pangilinan said he handed his resignation letter to Robredo that was supposedly effective on June 30.
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Pangilinan quits LP post over Otso debacle; Robredo rejects offer
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - May 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan resigned yesterday as president of the Liberal Party (LP), taking full responsibility for the “complete shutout” of the opposition ticket Otso Diretso in the May 13 elections.

But Vice President Leni Robredo, LP chair, turned down the resignation of Pangilinan along with that of Quezon City Rep. Christopher Belmonte as LP secretary general.

Pangilinan said he handed his resignation letter to Robredo that was supposedly effective on June 30.

LP leaders and members said Pangilinan’s move was a sign of humility and not because they wanted him out because of the opposition’s loss in the last polls.

“As campaign manager for the Otso Diretso slate, I was unable to ensure our victory in the elections and I… hold myself primarily accountable for this defeat,” Pangilinan said in a news release.

LP earlier questioned possible irregularities during the elections, including a seven-hour glitch in the transmission of votes, the breakdown of hundreds of vote counting machines and the identification of over a thousand defective SD cards.

Yesterday, the party asked the Commission on Elections to expedite ruling on its manifestation and motion filed on May 17 to have the glitches investigated. It sought the release of transparency servers’ audit and system logs as well as the full report on technical glitches.

In a statement, lawyer Barry Gutierrez said the Vice President did not accept Pangilinan’s resignation because “much work remains to be done, and they will do it, together.”

Of the eight opposition candidates, only reelectionist Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV came close to the “Magic 12” based on the latest partial and official results released by the Comelec.

Pangilinan had applied the house-to-house strategy or face-to-face persuasion in the campaign of Otso Diretso to gain voters’ support.

On Sunday, Robredo said she considers the loss of the Otso Diretso candidates in the recent senatorial elections as “a big disappointment” as she stressed the need for a “balanced” Senate in the remaining three years of the Duterte administration.

The Vice President also called on Filipinos to remain vigilant and watchful of the senators’ voting on crucial issues, such as the reimposition of the death penalty.

Not their fault

Sen. Leila de Lima and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagmay, who was reelected like Belmonte, said the resignations of the two LP officials were done as a matter of courtesy.

De Lima said no one should be blamed for the opposition’s defeat since the machinery used to destroy LP and the rest of Otso Diretso was too strong, aside from the reported massive vote buying.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, LP vice chairman, said the opposition’s defeat was not Pangilinan’s fault “because he exerted his best efforts with our limited resources.”

“Unfortunately, we were overwhelmed by the resources coming from the majority,” Drilon said, referring to the administration candidates.

Drilon said he consoled Pangilinan and told him not to take the defeat too hard. “We needed somebody in the opposition to run the campaign,” Drilon added, thanking Pangilinan for sacrificing his time, resources and family to strengthen the country’s democracy.

Drilon said there was no clamor for Pangilinan to step down but for him to stay.

He said Pangilinan agreed to discuss the matter further and review the situation. They will meet at the end of the month, Drilon said.

“He feels bad because despite everything that he did, we did not succeed. I can understand where he is coming from,” Drilon said.

De Lima said their loss was very painful but they would not waver in fighting the Duterte administration’s authoritarianism.

“With loss comes the opportunity to learn. And we won’t learn anything if we let ourselves wallow in disappointment or give in to hopelessness,” she said.

De Lima, who is detained based on what she described as trumped-up illegal charges, earlier said the Duterte administration’s second phase would be “terrible and frightening” due to its plan for Charter change, a bloodier war on drugs and the total capitulation of the country to China.

She added that she dreads unmitigated and unchecked corruption and abuse of power of the Duterte administration as well as more repression of the opposition, critics and pro-democracy forces and human rights defenders.


Malacañang said Pangilinan’s resignation is “commendable” because that means “he accepts defeat.”?Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the opposition lost because the voters did not believe in them.

“They 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 (Davao City) Mayor Sara (Duterte-Carpio),” the spokesman said.?“The people simply repudiated them,” he added. ?Asked to react to Robredo’s refusal to accept Pangilinan’s resignation as LP president, Panelo said: “That’s for her and Senator Pangilinan to resolve.”?“I don’t think about the Liberal Party. Let LP speak for itself and we will watch in amusement,” he said. – With Helen Flores, Paolo Romero, Alexis Romero, Jess Diaz ?

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