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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.
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.
1946–1972: Third Republic
The Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946, by Manuel Roxas, the first President of the Third Philippine Republic. It was formed by Roxas from what was once the "Liberal Wing" of the Nacionalista Party. Two more Presidents of the Philippines elected into office came from the LP: Elpidio Quirino and Diosdado Macapagal. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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, 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. The party has been inducting new members who are non-politicians since then, some of whom applied online through the party's website, Liberal.ph. 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. 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. 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.
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)."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, until the dictatorial term of Ferdinand Marcos, where it became more liberal.
Current party officials
- President: Senator Francis Pangilinan
- Chairperson: Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo (2016–present)
- Vice Chair: Senator Franklin Drilon (2017–present)
- Vice President for Internal Affairs: Former Representative Teddy Baguilat (Lone District of Ifugao) (2017–present)
- Vice President for External Affairs: Former Representative Lorenzo Tañada III (Quezon) (2017–present)
- Secretary-General: Representative Jose Christopher "Kit" Belmonte (Quezon City) (2016–present)
- Treasurer: Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato (Occidental Mindoro) (2017–present)
|Term in Office||Name|
|January 19, 1946 – April 15, 1948||Manuel Roxas|
|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|
|Election||Candidate||Number of votes||Share of votes||Outcome of election|
|1949||Elpidio Quirino (Quirino wing)||1,803,808||50.93%||Won|
|1949||José Avelino (Avelino wing)||419,890||11.85%||Lost|
|1969||Sergio Osmeña Jr.||3,143,122||38.51%||Lost|
|1986||Template:N/A||Template:N/A||Template:N/A||Supported Corazon Aquino who became president|
|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|
|Election||Candidate||Number of votes||Share of votes||Outcome of election|
|1949||Fernando Lopez (Quirino wing)||1,341,284||52.19%||Won|
|1949||Vicente J. Francisco (Avelino wing)||44,510||1.73%||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|
- Manuel Roxas (5th President of the Philippines; one of the co-founders)
- Elpidio Quirino (6th President of the Philippines)
- Diosdado Macapagal (9th President of the Philippines)
- Ferdinand Marcos (10th President of the Philippines) – Marcos won in 1965 as the candidate of the Liberal Party's rival Nacionalista Party, the party to which Marcos defected after failing to get the LP nomination.
- Benigno Aquino III (15th President of the Philippines)
- Gerardo Roxas Sr. (Senator; Liberal Party leader during the Marcos dictatorship)
- Macario Peralta Jr. (World War II Hero, Philippine Army General, Senator of the Philippines, Secretary of National Defense)
- Cesar Climaco (Mayor of Zamboanga City, vocal critic and opponent of Martial Law)
- Benigno Aquino Jr. (Senator of the Philippines)
- Eva Estrada-Kalaw (Senator of the Philippines)
- Eddie Ilarde (Senator of the Philippines)
- Ramon Mitra Jr. (16th Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives)
- Narciso Ramos (Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs; one of the co-founders)
- Ramon Bagatsing (longest-serving Mayor of Manila, Plaza Miranda bombing survivor)
- Emmanuel Pelaez (Vice-President of the Philippines, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Philippine Ambassador to the United States of America, Senator of the Philippines)
- Rashid Lucman (former Representative of Lanao del Sur, Exposed the Jabidah massacre and other Marcos abuses in Congress)
- Jovito Salonga (former Senate President of the Philippines, survived the Plaza Miranda bombing)
- Manuel Roxas II (former Interior and Local Government Secretary and Transportation Secretary)
- Feliciano Belmonte Jr. (former Speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives)
- Jesse Robredo (former Mayor of Naga City & former Interior and Local Government Secretary)
- Leni Robredo (14th Vice President of the Philippines, former Representative of Camarines Sur, Wife of former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo & Party Chairman in Naga City)
- Herbert Bautista (former Mayor of Quezon City)
- Alfredo Lim (former Senator & Mayor of Manila)
- Rafael Nantes (former Governor of Quezon Province & Former Treasurer of the Liberal Party)
- Evelyn Fuentebella (Mayor of Sagñay, Camarines Sur)
- Cornelio Villareal (Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Former Representative of the 2nd District of Capiz)
- Jaime Fresnedi (Mayor of Muntinlupa)
- Sergio H. Loyola (Representative of the 3rd District of Manila)
- Romulo Peña Jr. (former Mayor and Representative of the 1st District of Makati)
- "Duterte, Robredo win in final, official tally", Jovan Cerda. (in en-US)
- "'Melted?' Liberal Party meets for 71st anniversary", Rappler, January 21, 2017.
- (2016) Southeast Asia In The New International Era. ISBN 9780813350110.
- Molina, Antonio. The Philippines: Through the centuries. Manila: University of Sto. Tomas Cooperative, 1961. Print.
- "Common Man's President", Time, November 24, 1961.
- "Ramon Magsaysay." Microsoft Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.
- Aquino backs interior minister Roxas to be next president (August 1, 2015).
- "Key LP members jump ship to PDP–Laban", GMA News. (in en-US)
- "More LP lawmakers, local officials jump ship to admin party", CNN Philippines. (in en)
- Avendaño, Christine O.. "LP disowns Agusan del Sur execs who jumped ship to PDP–Laban", Philippine Daily Inquirer. (in en)
- "LP rebuilding to focus on non-politicians: Robredo", ABS-CBN News, February 9, 2017.
- "Robredo swears in new Liberal Party members in Negros Occidental", Rappler, June 15, 2018.
- "New blood: Liberal Party welcomes 'non-politicians' into fold", Rappler, November 8, 2017.
- "Robredo administers oath to 67 new LP members from Negros Occidental", SunStar, June 15, 2018.
- "Forecasting the 2019 campaign", Manila Bulletin. (in en-US)
- "Strengthen human rights awareness of Filipinos, say opposition bets", Rappler. (in en)
- "Benigno Aquino III, Leni Robredo endorse opposition Senate 12", The Philippine Star.
- "Opposition is 'alive': VP Robredo launches Senate ticket", ABS-CBN News. (in en)
- FILIPINOS CROSS DIFFERENCES IN GENUINE SHARING OF STORIES THROUGH PROJECT MAKINIG (en). liberal.ph.
- Liberal Party now ‘listens’ to the people it once ignored (en).
- LP Statement Archives – Liberal Party of the Philippines (en-US).
- "Frequently Asked Questions on joining Partido Liberal – Liberal Party of the Philippines", Liberal Party of the Philippines. (in en-US)
- "The decline of Philippine political parties", BusinessWorld. (in en-US)
- Daniel B., Schimer (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship and Resistance. South End Press, 150. ISBN 9780896082755.
- "What Is Liberalism, and Why Is It Such a Dirty Word?", Esquiremag.ph.
- "Liberal Party holds 1st official meeting post-2016 elections", Rappler, August 10, 2017.
- LP appoints Baguilat, Tañada to key party posts (August 16, 2017).
- "LOOK: Leni Robredo takes oath of office as Vice President of the Philippines", CNN Philippines, June 30, 2016.
- "It's final: LP completes 12-person Senate slate", Rappler, October 11, 2015.