Bam Aquino: Liberal Party has to 'start fresh' after Senate race wipeout

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 10 2019 10:19 AM | Updated as of Jun 10 2019 10:52 AM

People listen to Sen. Bam Aquino's speech during his campaign sortie in Tondo Manila, February 28, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The Liberal Party has to "start fresh" after the May elections that shut the Senate to opposition candidates, outgoing Sen. Bam Aquino said Monday. 

"We have to start fresh. We have to be able to look at this campaign, see the little points of light and build from there. Everything else na nakasama or naka-drag down, tanggalin na natin," said Aquino, one of the opposition's 8 defeated Senate bets. 

"Iyung paraan ba, pulitika pa rin? Hindi ko alam. Itong hinahanap nating pagbabago, hinahanap nating unity sa mga tao could be political, but could be something else," he told ANC. 

(Everything else that harmed or dragged us down, let's remove it. Is the means still politics? I don't know. The change that we are seeking, the unity we want with the people could be political but could be something else.) 

NARCO VIDEOS, LEAN LGU SUPPORT 

The opposition earlier lamented its meager campaign funds and the hesitation of local officials to openly endorse its candidates out of fear that they would end up in the government's narco-list. 

A series of viral videos tagging President Rodrigo Duterte's family in the narcotics trade also served as "a distraction" in the campaign's homestretch, said Aquino. 

"Nakagulo s'ya sa kampanya naming lahat (it created chaos in all of our campaigns), both on the admin side and the opposition side. How I wish we stuck to the issues, the track record of the senators," he said. 

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Aquino, however, said he has no ill feelings towards local officials who did not endorse opposition candidates even if the LP backed them in previous elections. 

"Pag tumutulong ka, hindi ka naman dapat transactional lagi, tutulungan kita paratutulungan mo rin ako. It can't be that way... [I have] no bitterness. Iba ang sitwasyon ngayon, iba rin ang pulitika," he said. 

(When you help out, it shouldn't always be transactional, I'll help you so that you would help me too... The situation now is different, the politics is different.) 

2022 PLANS 

Aquino said he has no concrete plans yet for when he steps down from office on June 30, but he will likely continue his advocacy on youth, education, and helping small businesses. 

"To be honest, this is the first time in my life, siguro in 14 years, na hindi ako sigurado kung anong gagawin ko. It's exciting and I welcome it. Hopefully sa mga panahong nagdadasal ka, bulungan ka na lang ni Lord kung anong magandang gawin," he said. 

(I'm not sure about what I will do... Hopefully during the times that you're praying, the Lord will whisper about what should be done.) 

Asked if he will seek public office again in 2022, he said, "Ang layo pa n'ya (it is still far) from where I am right now emotionally, mentally." 

The outgoing senator said his biggest legacy in the Senate will be the Free Tuition Law that he championed. He also authored the Go Negosyo Act that mandated one-stop shops for an entrepreneurs. 

"Wala akong batas na ipinasa, ipinaglaban at desisyon that I made, a vote that I cast na ikinahihiya ko. Lahat iyon ginawa ko para sa taong bayan," said Aquino. 

(I didn't pass, fight for any law, made a decision or cast any vote that I'm ashamed of. I did all of that for the public.) 

"Unfortunately, iyong kampanya at governance magkaiba talaga sa Pilipinas. How you wish na sana, based on track record and governance lang sana iyong eleksyon natin. But hindi ganoon e. That's not democracy," he added. 

(Unfortunately, the campaign and governance in the Philippines are different. How you wish that our elections would be based on track record and governance. But it's not.)