Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, and Risa Hontiveros, as well as former senator Bam Aquino and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno form the initial list of senatorial candidates formally nominated and endorsed by the Liberal Party (LP).
In a statement sent Tuesday, Sept. 28, after holding its virtual National Executive Council meeting, the once-ruling LP said that it is officially nominating its members, Pangilinan and De Lima, who are both re-electionists, as well as Aquino, for a senatorial seat in 2022.
Aquino has yet to announce his intention to run, although he joined the race during the 2019 midterm elections where he fell short of making it into the “magic 12”.
During the meeting, the party also passed a resolution endorsing Hontiveros and Diokno as guest senatorial bets who, despite not being members of LP, were candidates “aligned with its (LP) principles and values and as such are reliable partners in advancing its program of government”.
Hontiveros is a member of Akbayan while Diokno is an independent candidate.
The party also passed another resolution to express support for Vice President Leni Robredo, the party’s chairperson, for her “ongoing efforts to create the broadest possible coalition to present an alternative brand of governance to the people”.
The Vice President has “full authority and discretion in initiating talks and coming up with agreements, as well as identifying and assembling a united national slate of candidates for President, Vice President and Senators”, the statement said.
It added that the party will “respect” Robredo’s “preference on the elective position she may decide to run for, if any, with the full support by the Party as a whole”.
The party’s support came after former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV criticized Robredo for not being able to fix problems “in her own house” since some local LP officials are jumping ship.
The Vice President has yet to declare a bid for the presidency as she has been pursuing unity talks with other presidential hopefuls such as Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
Part of the meeting’s agenda was also to honor the late former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who passed away on June 24 this year.
The party remembered the former president as “A stalwart of liberal democracy and a staunch believer in people-centric, people-led governance… he valued freedom above all else, and sought first the Filipino people’s freedom from hunger, from poverty, from ignorance, and from insecurity, instituting massive interventions towards empowerment so that the Filipino may exercise the rest of their freedoms in a manner that is both enlightened and responsible.”
Even though he spent his life after the presidency in private, the party said he remained “close at work” as LP’s chairman emeritus since 2016.
LP said it will stand “as vanguard to his legacy, which no amount of disinformation, trolling, and historical distortionism should be able to diminish”.
The meeting was attended by LP leaders namely Robredo, Pangilinan, Senator Franklin Drilon, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, former congressmen Teddy Baguilat and Erin Tañada, and several elected officials.
Though still detained, De Lima also gave the party a short message. It was delivered by her Chief of Staff Fhillip Sawali.