By Raymund Antonio
Four months after the May 13 elections, the opposition Liberal Party held its first National Executive Council (NECO) meeting on Thursday, reaffirming support for Vice President Leni Robredo as its chair and Senator Francis Pangilinan as party president.
During an unannounced meeting of LP officials and members, the party’s NECO signed a resolution affirming the mandate of Quezon City 6th District Rep. Kit Belmonte as secretary-general and other LP leaders as well.
Both Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. will serve as LP vice chairperson, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Nene Ramirez-Sato as treasurer while defeated senatorial candidate Erin Tañada III will remain as vice president for external affairs.
Also included were former lawmaker Bolet Banal, who is the LP vice chairperson for the National Standing Commission for Political and Electoral Affairs; and Provincial Board Member Jason Gonzales of Iloilo as director general.
They will be holding their posts until 2022, according to the resolution.
Pangilinan and Belmonte resigned from their respective posts for command responsibility over the unsuccessful Senate bid of all the “Otso Diresto” candidates in the last elections. The senator was the opposition slate’s campaign manager.
But the Vice President rejected their resignations, saying they were still needed in the party.
In its NECO meeting, LP adopted five other resolutions, among them were enjoining all elected members of the party to push for people empowerment in their localities and adopting Robredo’s legislative agenda.
The resolution listed the Vice President’s agenda that included nine bills on food security, freedom of information, people empowerment, national land use, on-site/in-city/near-city relocation, professionalizing barangay health workers, sexual orientation/gender identity equality, and the Code of Conduct for Evictions.
“Through the empowerment agenda, the Filipino people shall be allowed to effectively participate in the business of governance in the Philippines and in their localities through the creation of local people’s councils and adoption of other measures,” the resolution read.
In Resolution No. NECO-2019-06, the party also commended 24 congressmen and four senators of LP in the 17th Congress for “upholding liberal values and defending democratic institutions.”
The meeting was attended by 200 elected and non-politician members. Also present were other LP stalwarts including former
Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Butch Abad.
LP was the ruling party under then President Benigno Aquino III until significant number of members switched to President Duterte’s PDP-Laban after he won in the 2016 elections.