MANILA - The president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP) on Tuesday expressed hopes of seeing a strong opposition in the 2019 midterm elections, echoing the statement of his partymate who eyes a "resistance" coalition in next year's polls.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said a genuine opposition is needed to make sure that the country's "democracy remains vibrant."
"Democracy demands dissent. We need a strong opposition to ensure that our democracy remains vibrant," Pangilinan said in a statement Tuesday.
"We hope to help build together the broadest coalition of groups and individuals united behind defending our freedoms and our civil and political rights," he added.
Pangilinan's statement came after his colleague in the Senate minority, Sen. Bam Aquino, said a genuine opposition was necessary amid doubts and concerns over the current administration's policies.
Reelectionist Aquino, also an LP member, is hoping to join a coalition of senate bets composed of members from different groups united in opposing administration policies that are not pro-people.
"In 2019, hindi lang 'The Force' kailangan, we need 'The Resistance' – a genuine opposition slate. You will find me on that slate," he said as the ruling PDP-Laban bared names likely to be included in its roster.
Pangilinan backed this, saying: "Resistance is our movement. We must vigorously resist the slide to authoritarianism and anti-democratic rule."
The Liberal Party has been vocal against several administration policies and actions of the Chief Executive, including the extension of martial rule in Mindanao and "attacks and threats" against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and the Commission on Human Rights.
Earlier, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, head of the ruling PDP-Laban, said reelectionist senators who are members of the majority- Senators JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Nancy Binay and Grace Poe- were being considered for the party's 2019 slate.