Former President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday urged his fellow Liberal Party (LP) members to “speak up” and make the party’s “voice heard again,” after four members were ousted from the majority in the Senate.
Aquino also asked party members to “be constructive and supportive” of the Duterte administration without sacrificing the party’s principles and ethics.
Quezon City Rep. Christopher Belmonte, the LP secretary general, summed up Aquino’s guidance during a three-hour party caucus in Quezon City following the party members’ ouster from the Senate majority on Monday.
“I’d like to think the opinion of the [former] President [was that] we wanted to be constructive, we wanted to be supportive and we wanted to be helpful but not to the point that we give up our party principles and our basic positions and ethics on issues,” Belmonte said in a press conference.
“His basic guidance was: It’s about time we speak up, it’s about time that the LP voice be heard again,” Belmonte said.
Aquino wanted the people to “realize our good intentions for the country,” he said.
In an ambush interview, Aquino said he was keeping his self-imposed yearlong moratorium on being critical of the current administration.
“I want to keep true to my word,” he said. But the ouster of Liberal senators from key posts in the upper chamber on Monday “definitely” bothered him, he said.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, the LP president, told reporters that the caucus centered on the death penalty bill and the continued membership of the Liberals in the House supermajority.
He said the membership issue would be taken up after the death penalty debates.