MANILA - The Liberal Party won only 30 top local positions in this year’s midterm polls, further reducing the clout of the group that was already decimated by turncoats in 2016.
All candidates under the LP-backed Otso Diretso slate lost in the senatorial race, leaving the party with no new blood in the Senate chamber.
Eighteen mayors, 2 governors, 5 vice governors, 4 mayors and a lone vice mayor under Vice President Leni Robredo’s team defeated their respective rivals who were mostly allied with President Rodrigo Duterte.
The number, however, is only about a quarter of the nearly 120 LP victories in the 2016 elections.
As of 9:22 p.m. with 95.47 percent of votes transmitted, the following LP candidates were poised to win in their respective areas:
Edcel Lagman, Albay 1st District
Mujiv Hataman, Basilan Lone District
Edgar Chatto, Bohol 1st District
Edgar Erice, Caloocan 2nd District
Gabby Bordado, Camarines Sur 3rd District
Tawi Billones, Capiz 1st District
Boyblue Abaya, Cavite 1st District
Raul Del Mar, Cebu 1st District
Kid Peña, Makati 1st District
Stella Quimbo, Marikina 2nd District
Josy Limkaichong, Negros Oriental 1st District
Paul Daza, Northern Samar 1st District
Nene Sato, Occidental Mindoro Lone District
PA Umali, Oriental Mindoro 2nd District
Kit Belmonte, Quezon City 6th District
Edgar Sarmiento, Samar 1st District
Cheryl Deloso, Zambales 2nd District
Isagani Amatong, Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District
Marilou Cayco, Batanes
Kaka Bag-ao, Dinagat Islands
VICE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTIONS
Remy Albano, Apayao
Ignacio Villa, Batanes
Junjun Davide, Cebu
Glenn Prudenciani, Ifugao
Doc Mark Macias, Negros Oriental
Lenlen Oreta, Malabon
Jaime Fresnedi, Muntinlupa
Nelson Legacion, Naga City
Beng Climaco, Zamboanga City
VICE MAYORAL ELECTIONS
Nene de Asis, Naga City
Liberal Party President Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan congratulated his successful partymates in a press conference, but made no mention of how the smaller number of LP-affiliated, incumbent officials affiliated would affect the dynamics within the party.
Liberal Party stalwart Erin Tañada who lost in the senatorial race lauded his partymates for winning against administration-backed opponents who were deemed to have had more resources and enjoyed the endorsement of a popular president.
“Races right now, resources are really in demand. You hear about vote buying on the ground kaya mahirap talaga labanan yan,” he said.
The negative connotation attached to the “dilawans” - the colloquial term that refers to LP members and supporters - has discouraged politicians from joining one of the country’s oldest political parties, campaign strategist Gerardo Eusebio told ABS-CBN News in an earlier interview.
"If you're tagged today as 'dilawan', it's not exactly a badge of honor. It may drag you down," he said.
"It's a turnaround because before, it was a badge of honor to be associated with the yellow submarine of President Benigno Aquino, as they say. After some political follies, some pundits wittingly or unwittingly transformed the political landscape between 'dilawan' and those who support Duterte," he said.
The ruling party under the presidency of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was decimated by turncoats in 2016 after its standard bearer Mar Roxas was defeated by then-Davao City Mayor Duterte.
The decline of party members has affected not only the LP’s political machinery, but also its chances of being recognized as the dominant minority party.
Last week, the Commission on Elections named the Duterte-allied Nacionalista Party as this election’s dominant minority Party, casting the once-powerful LP aside.
The Comelec said it gave more points to the Nacionalista because it fielded more candidates and had more incumbent officials compared to other minority parties.
Pangilinan slammed the poll body’s decision, noting that Nacionalistas were administration allies and that the Liberal Party was still the real opposition party.
Tañada said the sudden decline of members due to turncoatism should be a “wake-up call to the party.”
“It’s a wake-up call to the party itself that maybe it is time to restudy how we would attract new blood and new members and how to make the members play a very important role in making party decisions,” he said.