De Lima lauds Pangilinan, Belmonte’s efforts during campaign


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has commended Sen. Francis Pangilinan and Rep. Jose Belmonte for their hardwork and dedication in campaigning for the candidates of the united opposition slate Otso Diretso in the recent midterm elections.

De Lima made the statement after Pangilinan and Belmonte resigned their posts as Liberal Party (LP) president and LP secretary general, respectively, citing “command responsibility” for Otso Diretso’s unsuccessful bid for Senate seats.

“I have heard the news about Sen. Kiko Pangilinan and Cong. Kit Belmonte’s resignation as President and Secretary General, respectively, of the Liberal Party of the Philippines, following the results of the May 13 elections,” she said.

“As colleague and partymate, I believe that despite all the tough challenges and limited resources, Sen. Kiko and Cong. Kit did a great job in campaigning for our candidates and fighting for our shared causes. The electoral loss of the Opposition Slate is definitely not their fault,” she added.

Pangilinan, Otso Diretso’s campaign manager, tendered his resignation to Vice President Leni Robredo, the party chairperson, following the electoral defeat of all eight opposition senatorial candidates. Pangilinan confirmed that Belmonte also resigned as LP secretary general.

According to lawyer Barry Gutierrez, VP Robredo’s spokesperson, the vice president turned down their resignation because there is still a lot of work to do for the opposition.

The lady Senator from Bicol said she believes that Otso Diretso’s unsuccessful bid for the Senate seats could be attributed to the Duterte administration’s use of its entire machinery to taint their reputation, on top of massive vote-buying.

“Talaga nga lang pong napakalakas ng ginamit na makinarya para siraan ang LP at ang mga kandidato ng Otso Diretso. Bukod pa sa mga propagandang ito, nariyan pa ang mga ulat ng pagpapamudmod ng pera para sa talamak na vote-buying,” she said.

Despite the huge loss of opposition leaders in the recently-concluded midterm elections, the former justice secretary said they draw strength and hope from the people who continue to fight for principled leadership and just society.

“Tuloy ang ating laban. Kasama ang dumarami nating volunteers, ang mga naninindigan nating kabataan, at ang marami nang mulat na kababayan sa kabuktutan ng kasalukuyang gobyerno, patuloy tayong titindig at magkakapit-bisig para itaguyod ang karapatan ng taumbayan at katarungan sa ating lipunan,” she said. De Lima has stood by Sen. Bam Aquino, Rep. Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, civic leader Sam Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, former senator Mar Roxas and ex-Rep. Erin Tanada, saying that their loss is the loss of the Filipinos who missed to elect worthy leaders.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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