Press Release
January 16, 2006

Drilon: LP adopts individual conscience vote on Cha-Cha

The Liberal Party (LP) will allow individual members to take a conscience-based position on the proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution, Senate President and Liberal Party head Franklin Drilon said today.

Drilon said LP leaders have agreed to adopt a principle that individual party members are allowed to take his or her own position on sensitive political issues besetting the country.

The LP will celebrate its 60th anniversary with the theme Advancing the gains of Liberal Democracy in Asia: Marking the 60th Anniversary of the LP in the Philippines with a three-day celebration and activities starting Thursday, Jan. 19, that will culminate with a testimonial luncheon in honor of former Senate President Jovito R. Salonga, chairman emeritus of the party, on Saturday, Jan. 21.

We reached an accord to respect each others position on different issues and maintain Liberal Party unity for the sake of the country, said LP Secretary General Tarlac Rep. Benigno Noynoy Aquino.

Aquinos statement was echoed by Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., who said the party members, especially those in the House of Representatives, were more than capable of setting aside their political differences when the interests of the party and the country were at stake. Andaya is a known supporter of President Arroyo.

Andaya noted that the covenant for unity was originally broached and agreed during a party caucus held at the residence of Sen. Mar Roxas in October last year. The meeting was attended by about 25 LP House members.

We agreed during the series of meeting that the interests of the country, the Filipino people, and the Party, not our interests, will come first, Andaya said. No political Party or political figure can ignore the Liberal Party now. We are determined to make the Liberal Party a force to reckon with, said Andaya.

Andaya brushed aside talks that some LP members have been adopted by other political parties. We agreed during the series of meeting that the interests of the country, the Filipino people, and the Party, not our interests, will come first, Andaya said.

The LP anniversary celebration will start with Asian Regional Conference on Liberalism and Democracy in Asia to be held at the Dusit Hotel in Makati City on Thursday, according to Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, LP vice chairman and chairman of the 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee.

It will be followed by a book launching by Liberal Philippines later at the same venue. The book will contain case studies on the unique election experiences of two reform-oriented local politicians, LP Reps. Neric Acosta of Bukidnon and Dina Abad of Batanes. On Thursday afternoon, Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, LP chairman, will lead a rally at Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila.

On Jan. 20, a LP photo exhibit will be opened and a pamphlet on the LP Historical Milestones will be launched at the Ali Mall in Cubao, Quezon City. The activities are sponsored by the National Institute on Policy Studies, Liberal Philippines and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.

On the same day, local LP charter celebrations will be held simultaneously in Benguet, La Union, Cagayan, Cavite, Lucena, Naga City, Guimaras, Capiz, Caraga Region, Bukidnon, Davao City and Muntinlupa City.

On Jan. 21, a testimonial lunch in honor of Salonga will be held at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, which will be attended by members of the LP National Executive Committee and guests. An award ceremony will later be held for the winners of the Liberal Essay Writing Contest sponsored by Liberal Philippine and Kalipi, the youth arms of the LP.

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