MANILA- Liberal Party (LP) President Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Thursday denied reports that some lawmakers left the party due to an absence of leadership, saying the party has even been portrayed as a "yellow demon" due to its critical stance towards the administration.
"It's more the opposite: They are leaving LP because of the presence of leadership now speaking out against a number of policies of the administration, such as the position against the death penalty, extra-judicial killings, etc." Pangilinan said in a statement.
Four lawmakers left the LP last week and moved to President Rodrigo Duterte's political party, the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
These were Representatives Geraldine Roman of Bataan, Ansaruddin Adiong of Lanao del Sur, Nancy Catamco of North Cotabato and Alfred Vargas of Quezon City.
Pangilinan said the LP's "critical" views have affected "politics on the ground,' where administration supporters would blame them for the country's problems.
"And these critical views also impact on the politics on the ground, as supporters of a very powerful and very popular administration paint the Liberal Party a yellow demon responsible for all of society's ills," he said.
"Rebuilding the party in the face of an exodus of politician-members is hard enough. Doing so with half-truths thrown your way makes it harder," he added.
Pangilinan also dismissed rumors that the LP was planning to oust Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, the current PDP-Laban president.
LP members in the Senate make up the minority bloc, except for Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto.
"If there are moves to oust Koko as Senate president, we want to disassociate ourselves from that. We are not behind any such effort. Events have helped define and consolidate our position as a credible check-and-balance to the administration which is necessary in a democracy," he said.
Amid criticism over their party, Pangilinan said the LP remains committed to its vision of the truth.
"And our weapon in this our post-truth, volatile, and complex world of trolls, fake news, and lies? A clear and convincing vision of the future, with the truth told a thousand times," he said.