MANILA, Philippines – Ranking members of the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP) said there was no clamor for Senator Kiko Pangilinan to resign as party president, maintaining the leadership still trusts him.
On Tuesday, May 21, LP vice president for external affairs Erin Tañada called Pangilinan's resignation from the party a "sign of humility." (READ: LP leaders Pangilinan, Belmonte resign after Otso Diretso loses elections)
"There was no clamor for Sen Kiko's resignation. I admire the courage he showed by taking the challenge in leading and managing the Otso Diretso slate despite the obvious lack of resources and the attacks by the President on the opposition ticket," said Tañada, who was among the 8 Otso Diretso senatorial candidates who failed to win the Senate race.
"His resignation is not a message that he is abandoning the Liberal Party. His resignation is a sign of humility – taking responsibility for what has happened," added Tañada.
This was echoed by LP vice president for internal affairs Teddy Baguilat Jr, who is congressman of Ifugao.
"The LP leadership's faith in Sen Kiko remains solid as ever. Seeing how he poured his entire heart into the campaign, lalo pa ngang tumaas respeto namin sa kanya (our respect for him even deepened)," Baguilat tweeted.
The LP leadership’s faith in Sen Kiko remains solid as ever. Seeing how he poured his entire heart into the campaign, lalo pa ngang tumaas respeto namin sa kanya. — Teddy B. Baguilat (@TeddyBaguilatJr) May 21, 2019
On Tuesday morning, Pangilinan announced he had handed his letter of resignation to Vice President Leni Robredo, party chairperson. Pangilinan, Otso Diretso campaign manager, said he was taking full responsibility for the ticket's loss in the senatorial polls.
A party insider also told Rappler that LP secretary-general Kit Belmonte, reelected Quezon City 6th District representative, resigned from his post as well.
But Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said the Vice President rejected the resignations.
"The VP has not accepted Senator Kiko's and Cong Kit's resignations. Much work remains to be done, and they will do it, together," Gutierrez said.
Pangilinan and Belmonte were two of the main people behind Otso Diretso's uphill climb to the Senate. The opposition senatorial ticket suffered from low campaign funds and few political allies, prompting the slate to resort to volunteers to help convince voters to choose them on May 13. (READ: Will it be enough? Otso Diretso turns to volunteers to boost struggling campaign)
But their efforts were not enough after no opposition senatorial candidate made it to the Magic 12. – Rappler.com