SENATOR Francis Pangilinan was named acting president of the Liberal Party replacing former Transportation secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya until party elections are held.
Prior to his new designation, Pangilinan was LP’s vice president and the party’s top post is traditionally conferred on the highest ranking party member, which is Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo. The party did not explain the departure from tradition.
Pangilinan said he will draw lessons and inspiration from senior members of the Liberal Party—the late Senate President Jovito Salonga and the still active former Senator Wigberto Tañada.
“We will continue to criticize wrongdoings like the increasing number of killings due to the anti-drug war and the planned burial of a former dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said.
“We will plant, not hatred or ill motives, but hope and policies and programs for the country. Elections are over, let us replace ‘tards’ with ‘pards’ and ‘mards’. Let us work together towards a nation which cares for others, with justice and genuine freedom—freedom from poverty, corruption and fear.”
Pangilinan said being chosen for the position is a big challenge for him. He said he is humbled by the designation.
“I realize the weight of the position and I accept the responsibilities it entails. I am responding to this call to serve the people,” said Pangilinan.
“During these times, we knew those who have deeper understanding not only of the party’s principles, but also of the job of a party which is no longer in power.
“We need to work within the current situation to redefine ourselves as a party: How can we as a party work on addressing poverty, joblessness, and the high prices of basic necessities,” said Pangilinan.
In the designation letter, Abaya said: “I delegate unto the OIC President such powers necessary and incidental to safeguarding the successful election of a new set of party officers in a National Directorate meeting, to be held on or before the 31st of March 2017.”
“The powers of the party president include calling meetings of the various LP bodies; holding consultations with the party membership, the civil society, academe, and international stakeholders; creating search committees to scout for new members; acting on applications for membership; and recommending amendments to the Party Constitution for approval of the National Directorate, among others.”
LP president on leave Mar Roxas also signed the designation letter and Occidental Mindoro Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato, acting secretary-general, witnessed the signing.