Liberal Party
Partido Liberal
AbbreviationLP
PresidentEdcel Lagman
ChairpersonFrancis Pangilinan
Secretary-GeneralTeddy Baguilat
FounderManuel Roxas
Elpidio Quirino
FoundedJanuary 19, 1946; 76 years ago (1946-01-19)
Split fromNacionalista Party
HeadquartersAGS Building, Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City, Metro Manila
Think tankCenter for Liberalism and Democracy[1]
Youth wingLiberal Youth (LY)
Ideology
Political position
Regional affiliationCouncil of Asian Liberals and Democrats
International affiliationLiberal International
Colors  Yellow,   red,   blue
  Buff (customary)
SloganBago. Bukas. Liberal. (since 2020)[7]
Seats in the Senate
0 / 24
Seats in the House of Representatives
10 / 316
Provincial governorships
1 / 81
Provincial vice governorships
4 / 81
Provincial board members
25 / 1,023
Website
liberal.ph

The Liberal Party (Filipino and Spanish: Partido Liberal), abbreviated as the LP, is a liberal political party in the Philippines.[8]

Founded on January 19, 1946, by Senate President Manuel Roxas, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elpidio Quirino, and former 9th Senatorial District Senator José Avelino from the breakaway liberal wing of the old Nacionalista Party (NP), the Liberal Party remains the second-oldest active political party in the Philippines after the NP, and the oldest continually-active party. The LP served as the governing party of four Philippine presidents: Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Diosdado Macapagal, and Benigno Aquino III. As a vocal opposition party to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, it reemerged as a major political party after the People Power Revolution and the establishment of the Fifth Republic. It subsequently served as a senior member of President Corazon Aquino's UNIDO coalition. Upon Corazon Aquino's death in 2009, the party regained popularity, winning the 2010 Philippine presidential election under Benigno Aquino III and returning it to government to serve from 2010 to 2016. This was the only instance the party had won the presidency since the end of the Marcos dictatorship, however, as it lost control of the office to Rodrigo Duterte of PDP–Laban in the 2016 presidential election and became the leading opposition party once again. Its vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo won in the same election, however, narrowly beating the second candidate by a small margin.[9]

The Liberal Party was the political party of the immediate past Vice President of the Philippines. In the 2019 midterm elections, the party remained the primary opposition party of the Philippines, holding three seats in the Senate. The LP was the largest party outside of Rodrigo Duterte's supermajority, holding 18 seats in the House of Representatives after 2019. In local government, the party held two provincial governorships and five vice governorships. The general election of 2022, however, was a setback for the party, which lost both the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, as well as all of its seats in the Senate, and saw its representation in the House of Representatives reduced.

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, Corazon Aquino and Leila de Lima, have received the prestigious Prize For Freedom, one of the highest international awards for liberal and democratic politicians since 1985 given by Liberal International. The Liberal Party is a member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats and Liberal International.

History

The Liberal Party logo from 1953 to 1965.
The Liberal Party logo from 1965 to 2010 and again from 2016 to 2021.
The Liberal Party logo during the term of President Noynoy Aquino from 2010 to 2016.

Founding

The Liberal Party was founded on January 19, 1946, by Manuel Roxas,[10][2] the first President of the Third Philippine Republic.[10] It was formed by Roxas from what was once the "Liberal Wing" of the Nacionalista Party.[10] Two more Presidents of the Philippines elected into office came from the LP: Elpidio Quirino and Diosdado Macapagal.[11][12] 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.[13]

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. Even after Marcos' declaration of martial law silenced the LP, the party continued to oppose the regime, and many of its leaders and members would be prosecuted and even killed during this time.[2][10]

Post-EDSA

After democracy was restored after the People Power Revolution, the LP was instrumental in ending more than half a century of US military presence in the Philippines with its campaign in the 1991 senate to reject a new RP-US Bases Treaty. This ironically cost the party dearly, losing for it the elections of 1992. In 2000, it was in opposition to the Joseph Estrada administration, actively supporting the Resign-Impeach-Oust initiatives that led to People Power II.[2][10]

On March 2, members of the LP installed Manila Mayor Lito Atienza as the party president, which triggered an LP leadership struggle and party schism. The Supreme Court later proclaimed Drilon the true president of the party, leaving the Atienza wing expelled.[10][2]

The Benigno Aquino III administration

The Liberal Party regained influence when it nominated as its next presidential candidate then-Senator Benigno Aquino III,[10] the son of former President Corazon Aquino, for the 2010 Philippine presidential election after the latter's death that subsequently showed a groundswell of support for his candidacy.[14] 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. The party was able to field new members breaking away from the then-ruling party Lakas–Kampi–CMD, becoming the largest minority party in Congress.[2][10][15] Aquino would later win by plurality, and the LP would become the majority party in Congress.[16]

2016–present

In the 2016 presidential elections, the Liberal Party nominated Mar Roxas, former Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary, and Leni Robredo, a representative from Naga City and widow of Jesse Robredo, the DILG secretary who preceded Roxas, as the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates. Robredo won, while Roxas lost. Most of the party's members either switched allegiance to PDP–Laban,[17][18][19] joined a supermajority alliance but retained their LP membership (with some defecting later), joined the "recognized 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 representation of non-politicians in its membership numbers.[20] Since then the party had been inducting new members who were non-politicians, some of whom applied online through the party's website, Liberal.ph.[21][22][23] Before the scheduled 2019 general elections, the LP formed Otso Diretso, an electoral coalition of eight candidates for the senate race; led by the party, the coalition field also comprised members of the Magdalo Party-List, Akbayan Citizens Action Party, and Aksyon Demokratiko.[24][25][26] None of the eight senatorial candidates under Otso Diretso won a seat, however; it was the first time in the history of the current bicameral composition of the Philippine Congress under the 1987 Constitution that the opposition failed to win a seat in one of the chambers, and the second time that a Liberal Party-led coalition suffered a great loss since 1955.

For the 2022 Philippine presidential election, the Liberal Party nominated Leni Robredo and Francis Pangilinan for the presidential and vice presidential posts, respectively.[27][28]

Ideology

While the Liberal Party defines its ideology as social liberalism,[29] the party has often been described as a "centrist" or "liberal" party. Historically, the Liberal Party has been evaluated as a "conservative" party,[30][31] with an ideology similar to or indistinguishable from the Nacionalista Party's ideology,[32][33] until it became the opposition party under the Marcos dictatorship, wherein it became more liberal.[34] Being a founding member of the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats and a full member of Liberal International, the Liberal Party advocates the values of "freedom, justice and solidarity (bayanihan)," as described in the party's values charter.[35][36] Although this may be deemed theoretically true since the party's founding in 1946, it became more tangible through the party's position of continuing dissent during the Marcos dictatorship.

Since 2017, the party has opened party membership to the general public and to key sectors of society, aiming to harness a large volunteering base. According to the party, this aims to ostensibly build on "the promise of becoming a true people’s party".

Current political positions

The party has declared policies geared toward inclusiveness and people empowerment.[37][8] It also advocates and supports secure jobs, food, shelter, universal health care, public education access, and other social services, and is against extrajudicial killings, any challenge to the rule of law, and curtailments of human rights strictures. The party also aims to form an open government with participatory democracy, positions that have been supported by the party's recent leaders.[38][39]

Economic policy

Legal issues

Senator Leila de Lima, who led an investigation into alleged extrajudicial deaths in the early months of Duterte's war on drugs, was issued an arrest warrant in 2017 based on charges linked to the New Bilibid Prison drug trafficking scandal, which the party claimed was based on trumped-up charges, labelling the arrest "patently illegal".[63] While on the whole, de Lima's investigation was seen by some pundits as an adversarial investigation that was a strategic mistake, others in the party simply saw it as a call to a review of the party's principles and how members have adhered to them.[64][63][62][65][66]

In 2019, the party, along with other groups, was accused of planning a coup against the Duterte government. The party denounced the allegation and called it a state-sponsored threat of legal abuse, demanding the government provide evidence to back the claims.[67]

Current party officials

Presidents

Term in Office Name
January 19, 1946 – April 15, 1948 Manuel Roxas[10]
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 – September 30, 2022 Francis Pangilinan
September 30, 2022 – present Edcel Lagman

Electoral performance

Presidential elections

Year Candidate Votes % Result Outcome
1946 Manuel Roxas 1,333,006 53.93 Won Manuel Roxas won
1949 Elpidio Quirino[a] 1,803,808 50.93 Won Elpidio Quirino won
José Avelino[a] 419,890 11.85 Lost
1953 Elpidio Quirino 1,313,991 31.08 Lost Ramon Magsaysay (Nacionalista) won
1957 José Yulo 1,386,829 27.62 Lost Carlos P. Garcia (Nacionalista) won
Antonio Quirino[b] 60,328 1.20 Lost
1961 Diosdado Macapagal 3,554,840 55.00 Won Diosdado Macapagal won
1965 Diosdado Macapagal 3,187,752 42.88 Lost Ferdinand Marcos (Nacionalista) won
1969 Sergio Osmeña Jr. 3,143,122 38.51 Lost Ferdinand Marcos (Nacionalista) won
1981 Not participating Ferdinand Marcos (KBL) won
1986 None; main wing endorsed Corazon Aquino (UNIDO), while Kalaw had no running mate. Disputed Corazon Aquino assumed presidency
1992 Jovito Salonga 2,302,123 10.16 Lost Fidel V. Ramos (Lakas–NUCD) won
1998 Alfredo Lim 2,344,362 8.71 Lost Joseph Estrada (LAMMP) won
2004 None; endorsed Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Lakas–CMD) Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Lakas–CMD) won
2010 Benigno Aquino III 15,208,678 42.08 Won Benigno Aquino III won
2016 Mar Roxas 9,978,175 23.45 Lost Rodrigo Duterte (PDP–Laban) won
2022 Leni Robredo[c] 15,035,773 27.94 Lost Bongbong Marcos (PFP) won

Vice presidential elections

Year Candidate Votes % Result Outcome
1946 Elpidio Quirino 1,161,725 52.36 Won Elpidio Quirino won
1949 Fernando Lopez[a] 1,341,284 52.19 Won Fernando López won
Vicente J. Francisco[a] 44,510 1.73 Lost
1953 José Yulo 1,483,802 37.10 Lost Carlos P. Garcia (Nacionalista) won
1957 Diosdado Macapagal 2,189,197 46.55 Won Diosdado Macapagal won
1961 Emmanuel Pelaez 2,394,400 37.57 Won Emmanuel Pelaez won
1965 Gerardo Roxas 3,504,826 48.12 Lost Fernando López (Nacionalista) won
1969 Genaro Magsaysay 2,968,526 37.54 Lost Fernando López (Nacionalista) won
1981 Vice presidency abolished
1986 None; main wing endorsed Salvador Laurel (UNIDO) Disputed Salvador Laurel (UNIDO) assumed vice presidency
Eva Estrada Kalaw 662,185 3.31
1992 None; Salonga's running mate was Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (PDP–Laban) 2,023,289 9.91 Lost Joseph Estrada (NPC) won
1998 Serge Osmeña 2,351,462 9.20 Lost Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (Lakas–NUCD–UMDP) won
2004 None; endorsed Noli de Castro (Independent) Noli de Castro (Independent) won
2010 Mar Roxas 13,918,490 39.58 Lost Jejomar Binay (PDP–Laban) won
2016 Leni Robredo 14,418,817 35.11 Won Leni Robredo won
2022 Francis Pangilinan 9,329,207 17.82 Lost Sara Duterte (Lakas–CMD) won

Legislative elections

Notable members

Philippine presidents

Others

Coalition

References

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