Liberal Party

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The Liberal Party (abbreviated as LP) is a liberal democratic political party in the Philippines. It was founded on 19 January 1946 by Senate President Manuel Roxas, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elpidio Quirino and 9th Senatorial District Senator Jose Avelino from the liberal faction of the Nacionalista Party. After the Nacionalista Party, the Liberal Party is the second-oldest active political party in the Philippines. It is also the oldest continuously active political party in the country.

The Liberal Party was the ruling party during the terms of four Philippine presidents, namely Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Diosdado Macapagal, and Benigno Simeon Aquino III. The LP was vocal in its opposition to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After Marcos was ousted in 1986, the party re-established itself as a major force in the political arena and played a role in the founding of the Fifth Republic. It also became a member of ​​the United Nationalist Democratic Organization (UNIDO), the multi-party electoral alliance that sought to remove Marcos from power through a legal political process.

Upon Corazon C. Aquino's death in 2009, the party regained popularity, winning the 2010 Philippine presidential election under Benigno Aquino III. The Liberal Party returned to government, serving from 2010 to 2016. The party lost control of the presidency to Rodrigo Duterte of PDP–Laban in the 2016 presidential election and became the leading opposition party; however its vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo won, narrowly beating Nacionalista candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.[1]

The Liberal Party is currently the political party of the Vice President of the Philippines. As of the 2019 midterm elections, the party is still the primary opposition party of the Philippines, holding three seats in the Senate. The Liberals are the largest party outside of Rodrigo Duterte's supermajority, holding 18 seats in the House of Representatives. In local government, the party holds two provincial governorships and five vice governorships.

The Liberal Party remains an influential organization in contemporary Philippine politics. With center-left positions on social issues and centrist positions on economic issues, it is commonly associated with the post-revolution, liberal-democratic status quo of the Philippines in contrast to authoritarianism, neoconservatism, and Socialism. Aside from presidents, the party has been led by liberal thinkers and progressive politicians including Benigno Aquino Jr., Jovito Salonga, Raul Daza, Florencio B. Abad Jr., Franklin Drilon, and Mar Roxas. Two of its members, Corazón Aquino and Leila de Lima, have received the prestigious Prize for Freedom, the highest international award for liberal and democratic politicians since 1985.Template:Importance inline The Liberal Party is a member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats and the Liberal International.


File:Liberal Party (Philippines).svg
The Liberal Party logo during the term of President Noynoy Aquino from 2010 to 2016.
File:Liberal Party of the Philippines.svg
The Liberal Party logo before 2010 and again from 2016-2021.

1946–1972: Third Republic

The Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946, by Manuel Roxas,[2][3] the first President of the Third Philippine Republic.[2] It was formed by Roxas from what was once the "Liberal Wing" of the Nacionalista Party.[2] Two more Presidents of the Philippines elected into office came from the LP: Elpidio Quirino and Diosdado Macapagal.[4][5] Two other presidents came from the ranks of the LP, as former members of the party who later joined the Nacionalistas: Ramon Magsaysay and Ferdinand Marcos.[6]

1972–1986: Martial law era

During the days leading to his declaration of martial law, Marcos would find his old party as a potent roadblock to his quest for one-man rule. Led by Ninoy Aquino, Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, the LP would hound President Marcos on issues like human rights and the curtailment of freedoms. Not even Marcos' declaration of martial law silenced the LP, and the party continued to fight the dictatorship despite the costs. Many of its leaders and members would be prosecuted and even killed during this time.[3][2]

1986–2010: Post-EDSA

The LP was instrumental in ending more than half a century of US military presence in the Philippines with its campaign in the Philippine Senate of 1991 to reject a new RP-US Bases Treaty. This ironically cost the party dearly, losing for it the elections of 1992. In 2000, it stood against the corruption of the Joseph Estrada government, actively supporting the Resign-Impeach-Oust initiatives that led to People Power II.[3][2]

In 2006, the Philippines' ruling political party, Lakas–CMD, with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo serving as its supremo, was influential in "hijacking" the Liberal Party by way of overthrowing the party presidency of Sen. Franklin Drilon at a rump party meeting at the Manila Hotel. With the marching orders and blessing of Lakas, LP members sympathetic to the Arroyo government used the meeting on March 2 to install Manila Mayor Lito Atienza as the party president, thus triggering an LP leadership struggle and party schism.Template:Lopsided Days later, the Supreme Court proclaimed Drilon the true president of the party, leaving the Atienza wing expelled.[3][2]

2010–2016: The Benigno Aquino III administration

The Liberal Party regained influence in 2010 when it nominated as its next presidential candidate then-Senator Benigno Aquino III,[2] the son of former President Corazon Aquino, after the latter's death that subsequently showed a massive outpouring of sympathy for the Aquino family. Even though the party had earlier nominated Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas II to be its presidential candidate for the 2010 Philippine general election, Roxas gave way to Aquino and instead ran for vice president. During the fierce campaign battle that followed, the party was able to field new members breaking away from the then-ruling party Lakas–Kampi–CMD to become the largest minority party in Congress.[3][2][7]

2016–present: Opposition under Duterte rule

In 2016 presidential elections, Liberal Party nominated Mar Roxas, former DOTC and DILG secretary and Leni Robredo, a Representative from Naga City and widow of former DILG secretary Jessie Robredo. Leni Robredo won, while Mar Roxas lost. Most of their members either switched allegiance to PDP–Laban,[8][9][10] joined a supermajority alliance but retained LP membership (with some defecting later), joined minority, or created an opposition bloc called "Magnificent 7".

As early as February 2017, the leaders of the Liberal Party chose to focus on rebuilding the party by inviting sectoral membership of non-politicians.[11] The party has been inducting new members who are non-politicians since then, some of whom applied online through the party's website,[12][13][14] Before the scheduled 2019 general elections, the LP formed the Oposisyon Koalisyon (Opposition Coalition or OK), an electoral coalition led by the party that also comprises members of the Magdalo Party-List, Akbayan Citizens Action Party, and Aksyon Demokratiko along with independent candidates.[15][16][17] The coalition hopes to drive a new political culture based on political leaders practicing "makiking, matuto, kumilos" (listen, learn, take action), each candidate emphasizing the need for government to listen to its citizens.[18] As part of the Liberal Party's efforts to instill this new political culture, it launched Project Makining in October 2018, a modern, nationwide listening campaign using technology and driven by volunteers.[19][20]


The party currently adopts liberalism as its main ideology. According to its values charter, the self-described values of the party are "freedom, justice and solidarity (bayanihan)."[21][22]Template:Primary source inline

Historically, the party's ideology during its early years was noted by some political observers to be similar to or indistinguishable from the Nacionalista Party,[23][24] until the dictatorial term of Ferdinand Marcos, where it became more liberal.[25]

Current party officials


Term in Office Name
January 19, 1946 – April 15, 1948 Manuel Roxas[2]
January 19, 1946 – May 8, 1949 José Avelino
April 17, 1948 – December 30, 1950 Elpidio Quirino
December 30, 1950 – December 30, 1957 Eugenio Pérez
December 30, 1957 – December 30, 1965 Diosdado Macapagal
May 1964 – May 10, 1969 Cornelio T. Villareal
May 10, 1969 – April 19, 1982 Gerardo Roxas
April 20, 1982 – June 1, 1993 Jovito Salonga
June 2, 1993 – October 17, 1994 Wigberto Tañada
October 18, 1994 – September 19, 1999 Raul A. Daza
September 20, 1999 – August 9, 2004 Florencio Abad
August 10, 2004 - November 5, 2007 Franklin Drilon
November 6, 2007 – September 30, 2012 Mar Roxas
October 1, 2012 – August 7, 2016 Joseph Emilio Abaya
August 8, 2016 – present Francis Pangilinan

Electoral performance


Election Candidate Number of votes Share of votes Outcome of election
1946 Manuel Roxas 1,333,392 54.94% Won
1949 Elpidio Quirino (Quirino wing) 1,803,808 50.93% Won
1949 José Avelino (Avelino wing) 419,890 11.85% Lost
1953 Elpidio Quirino 1,313,991 31.08% Lost
1957 José Yulo 1,386,829 27.62% Lost
1961 Diosdado Macapagal 3,554,840 55.00% Won
1965 Diosdado Macapagal 3,187,752 42.88% Lost
1969 Sergio Osmeña Jr. 3,143,122 38.51% Lost
1981 Template:N/A Template:N/A Template:N/A Boycotted
1986 Template:N/A Template:N/A Template:N/A Supported Corazon Aquino who became president
1992 Jovito Salonga 2,302,123 10.16% Lost
1998 Alfredo Lim 2,344,362 8.71% Lost
2004 Template:N/A Template:N/A Template:N/A Supported Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who won
2010 Benigno Aquino III 15,208,678 42.08% Won
2016 Mar Roxas 9,978,175 23.45% Lost

Vice president

Election Candidate Number of votes Share of votes Outcome of election
1946 Elpidio Quirino 1,161,725 52.36% Won
1949 Fernando Lopez (Quirino wing) 1,341,284 52.19% Won
1949 Vicente J. Francisco (Avelino wing) 44,510 1.73% Lost
1953 José Yulo 1,483,802 37.10% Lost
1957 Diosdado Macapagal 2,189,197 46.55% Won
1961 Emmanuel Pelaez 2,394,400 37.57% Won
1965 Gerardo Roxas 3,504,826 48.12% Lost
1969 Genaro Magsaysay 2,968,526 37.54% Lost
1986 Eva Estrada-Kalaw (Kalaw wing) 662,185 3.31% Lost; main wing supported Salvador Laurel who became vice president
1992 Template:N/A Template:N/A Template:N/A Supported Aquilino Pimentel Jr. who lost
1998 Sergio Osmeña III 2,351,462 9.20% Lost
2004 Template:N/A Template:N/A Template:N/A Supported Noli de Castro who won
2010 Mar Roxas 13,918,490 39.58% Lost
2016 Leni Robredo 14,418,817 35.11% Won

Notable members

Philippine presidents




  1. "Duterte, Robredo win in final, official tally", Jovan Cerda. (in en-US) 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "'Melted?' Liberal Party meets for 71st anniversary", Rappler, January 21, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 (2016) Southeast Asia In The New International Era. ISBN 9780813350110. 
  4. Molina, Antonio. The Philippines: Through the centuries. Manila: University of Sto. Tomas Cooperative, 1961. Print.
  5. "Common Man's President", Time, November 24, 1961. 
  6. "Ramon Magsaysay." Microsoft Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.
  7. Aquino backs interior minister Roxas to be next president (August 1, 2015).
  8. "Key LP members jump ship to PDP–Laban", GMA News. (in en-US) 
  9. "More LP lawmakers, local officials jump ship to admin party", CNN Philippines. (in en) 
  10. Avendaño, Christine O.. "LP disowns Agusan del Sur execs who jumped ship to PDP–Laban", Philippine Daily Inquirer. (in en) 
  11. "LP rebuilding to focus on non-politicians: Robredo", ABS-CBN News, February 9, 2017. 
  12. "Robredo swears in new Liberal Party members in Negros Occidental", Rappler, June 15, 2018. 
  13. "New blood: Liberal Party welcomes 'non-politicians' into fold", Rappler, November 8, 2017. 
  14. "Robredo administers oath to 67 new LP members from Negros Occidental", SunStar, June 15, 2018. 
  15. "Forecasting the 2019 campaign", Manila Bulletin. (in en-US) 
  16. "Strengthen human rights awareness of Filipinos, say opposition bets", Rappler. (in en) 
  17. "Benigno Aquino III, Leni Robredo endorse opposition Senate 12", The Philippine Star. 
  18. "Opposition is 'alive': VP Robredo launches Senate ticket", ABS-CBN News. (in en) 
  20. Liberal Party now ‘listens’ to the people it once ignored (en).
  21. LP Statement Archives – Liberal Party of the Philippines (en-US).
  22. "Frequently Asked Questions on joining Partido Liberal – Liberal Party of the Philippines", Liberal Party of the Philippines. (in en-US) 
  23. "The decline of Philippine political parties", BusinessWorld. (in en-US) 
  24. Daniel B., Schimer (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship and Resistance. South End Press, 150. ISBN 9780896082755. 
  25. "What Is Liberalism, and Why Is It Such a Dirty Word?", 
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 "Liberal Party holds 1st official meeting post-2016 elections", Rappler, August 10, 2017. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 LP appoints Baguilat, Tañada to key party posts (August 16, 2017).
  28. "LOOK: Leni Robredo takes oath of office as Vice President of the Philippines", CNN Philippines, June 30, 2016. 
  29. "It's final: LP completes 12-person Senate slate", Rappler, October 11, 2015.