Quo vadis, Liberal Party: Past, present and future

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Next to the Nacionalista Party, which was founded by Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Don Manuel L. Quezon in 1907, the Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946 by Don Manuel A. Roxas of Capiz and Don Elpidio Q. Quirino of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Its president today is Senator Francis Pangilinan with Vice President Leni Robredo as chairwoman, and Jose Christopher Belmonte as secretary-general. While the NP stands on the platform of the Philippines for the Filipinos, the LP wants to open our country to the world under a regime of globalization.

The LP's political ideology is left of center, while the NP's is right of center. The LP's think tank is the Center for Liberalism and Democracy. Its international affiliation is with the Liberal International and its regional alliance is with the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats. Today, the LP only has three senators out of 24. It only has 17 incumbent representatives out of 304 in the Lower House. It only has two governors and five vice governors out of 81, and just 54 out of the 1,023 members of the 81 provincial boards. It is much smaller and weaker than the NP, and it has no money.

History tells us that in 1946, when Manuel A. Roxas, an NP, was beaten by Don Sergio Osmeña Sr. in the party convention, Roxas bolted the party and founded the LP. Roxas won over Osmeña by a slim margin. Roxas later died in office, and his vice president and LP co-founder, Elpidio Quirino, won over NP's Jose P. Laurel with a slimmer margin of 50.93% in the 1949 elections. That election was marred by many charges of terrorism and vote buying. In 1953, LP's Quirino lost to his Defense secretary, Ramon Magsaysay, who shifted to the NP and won by a very large majority. Quirino's first term was blemished by too many charges of corruption. He got only 31.08% compared to Magsaysay, who got more than 68.90%.

In 1957, the multi-millionaire haciendero, LP candidate Don Jose Yulo, was beaten by a teacher and lawyer from Bohol, Carlos P. Garcia, who married a Dimataga from Mactan, Cebu. Garcia got 41.28% to Yulo's 27.62%. It was because there was a third candidate, Manuel Manahan who got 20.90% and a fourth bet, Claro M. Recto who got 8.55%. In 1961, Diosdado P. Macapagal of LP, won with 51% over Garcia of NP who got 44.9%. But in 1965, Ferdinand Marcos of NP, with 51.94% of the votes, won over Macapagal of LP who only got 42.88%.

In 1969, LP's Sergio Osmeña Jr. with only 38.51% was demolished by the massive logistics and machinations of the incumbent, NP's Marcos, who got 61.47%. Osmeña even lost in his own province of Cebu. The Cebuano congressmen, including Ramon Durano, Tereso Dumon, Manuel Zosa, and Ed Kintanar all supported Marcos. That was the most painful defeat of the Osmeñas and the LP's in the hands of the NP founded by Don Sergio, Serging's own father. Serging lost in almost all provinces in the whole country, but the unkindest cut of all was losing in his own turf, Cebu.

The LP is also the party of the great Jovito Salonga, Ambrocio Padilla, Ninoy Aquino, Ramon Mitra, Gerry Roxas (the son of the LP founder), and Mar Roxas, the grandson. But all of them failed to become president. Serging Osmeña, an LP was defeated by the party that his father founded. Since then, the LP has been reduced to a minority party. President Cory Aquino was not member of the LP while PNoy was. President Cory's anointed one, FVR, was not an LP member. GMA, the daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal, was not an LP member. Her sons who won as congressmen were not LP members either.

If VP Leni relies only on the LP, she will have no logistics, no machinery, and it will be a real uphill battle against the trillions of the Marcoses and the powers of the Dutertes, I strongly believe that 2022 will not be a year for the LP. But it will have its own time in the future.

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