Liberal Party president Francis Pangilinan denied Thursday President Duterte's claim that his ''yellow'' critics want to oust him from power, saying the former ruling party is in shambles after losing over half of its members.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Pangilinan said some 100 LP stalwarts from Congress and half of their members from local governments transferred to other parties after the defeat of LP bet Mar Roxas in the May presidential race.
The remaining LP force, whom he said are so few they "can fit inside a Volkswagen", cannot even hold party meetings, much less organize Duterte's ouster.
"Wala po kaming kapangyarihan dahil nalagasan na kami. Ni hindi nga po kami makapagpulong dahil luray luray na ang partido," he said. (We are powerless because we have lost so many members. We can't even meet since the party is in shambles.)
Pangilinan said that if there is indeed a plan to overthrow the Duterte government, the LP would not support it because there are other avenues to resolve their policy differences with the administration.
He said the presence of LP members in anti-Marcos rallies does not mean the party wants Duterte kicked out of office. He noted many of the President's supporters also attended the rallies.
"Hindi po ibig sabihin na naroon po ang Liberal Party sa rally o mga kinatawan o mga dating nasa gobyerno ay ibig sabihin gusto na nating pabagsakin ang gobyerno," he stressed.
"Kapag kami ay tumututol sa ilang patakaran, hindi ibig sabihin gusto po nating patalsikin ang kasalukuyang administrasyon."
The LP president also emphasized that dissent is the mark of a thriving democracy and it is the duty of public officials to offer constructive criticism to the President.
"Hindi po diyos, hindi po hari, siya ay tao lang. At kung nagkaroon ng kakulangan, tungkulin po ng ibang mga opisyal ng pamahalaan na pumuna para po ma-correct, para po sana'y maibago."
(Duterte is not a god nor a king; he's only human. And if he has shortcomings, it is the duty of other officials to criticize so these may be corrected.)
Duterte on Wednesday said the "yellows" might be plotting to install Vice President Leni Robredo if their supposed plan to oust him succeeds.
He said "yellow" supporters, who joined the recent protest actions against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, were fanning anti-Marcos sentiments to undermine him.
Yellow is the political color associated with LP and former president Benigno Aquino III.
Robredo, Roxas and Senator Leila de Lima were among LP stalwarts who joined the November 30 protest against Marcos' hero's burial.
BONGBONG BEHIND OUSTER RUMORS?
Pangilinan, meanwhile, lamented that false information may have been reaching Duterte.
He said the alleged ouster plan against the President was first brought up by former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. who lost by a narrow margin to Robredo.
"Itong plot na ito, kung matatandaan po natin, mayroon nang sinasabi ang kampo ni Bongbong Marcos na may Plan B para i-derail ng pagka-plano ng ating Bise President. Sinabi niya na may Plan B na hindi mananalo ang [kandidato sa pagka]pangulo (Roxas) pero iyung bise-pangulo ipapapanalo para kapag patalsikin si Pangulong Duterte," he said.
(If we can remember, the camp of Bongbong Marcos claimed there was a plan B to derail the assumption of our Vice President. He said there is a plan B that if the LP standard bearer won't win, we'll just back our vice president so she can succeed Duterte if the the President is ousted.)
Pangilinan insisted there is no truth to the accusation while Robredo herself guaranteed that she will never support such plans.
The younger Marcos has a pending electoral protest against Robredo.