Press Release
May 9, 2006

Asian liberals rally behind Drilon leadership

The Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD), the regional grouping of liberal democrats in Asia, has passed a resolution expressing its confidence behind the leadership of Senate President and Liberal Party (LP) head Franklin Drilon as CALD chairman in view of the failed attempt by Malacañang to sow intrigues within the LP, the second oldest political party in the Philippines.

CALD Executive Director John Coronel said the council's executive committee passed Resolution No. 4 Series of 2006, during a CALD meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia last April 26, expressing the support of CALD member-parties behind the leadership of Drilon and LP stalwart Bukidnon Rep. Nereus Acosta, who is CALD Secretary-General.

Drilon and Acosta are currently serving a two-year term as CALD chairman and secretary-general respectively, starting October last year.

"Noting the current controversy within the Liberal Party of the Philippines, the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats asserts its fullest confidence in the current leadership of CALD and believes that this leadership best serves the interest of Liberalism in Asia at the current junction," the resolution said

The resolution was signed by Member of Parliament Sam Rainsy, head of the Sam Rainsy Party of Cambodia; Rajiva Wijesinha, president of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka; former MP Isra Sunthornvut of the Democrat Party of Thailand; state legislator Yong Dai Ying of the Parti Gerakan Rakyat of Malaysia; Chou Ching-Yu of the Democratic Progressive Party of Taiwan; and Nyo Myint of the National Council of the Union of Burma.

"The resolution simply means that the CALD member-parties are expressing their full support behind CALD Chairman Drilon and Secretary General Acosta in view of the present internal conflict within the Liberal Party of the Philippines," Coronel said.

Lawyer Antonio Gallardo, Drilon's chief of staff, revealed that the CALD resolution was triggered by reported attempts by the camp of Manila Mayor Lito Atienza to discredit Drilon and the legitimate LP leaders through misrepresentation during the recently-concluded CALD Conference on "Public Accountability in Official Development Assistance" held in Siem Reap, Cambodia last April 26.

"The irresponsible attempts by Malacañang to discredit Drilon before an international liberal forum has apparently backfired," Gallardo said. The host officials of the Cambodia conference reprimanded and expelled the representative of Atienza for improper conduct and breach of protocol for distributing anti-Drilon propaganda materials during the CALD meeting.

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