(UPDATED) - Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has resigned as president of the Liberal Party (LP) effective June 30, 2019 in the wake of the defeat of all Otso Diretso senatorial candidates.
Pangilinan handed his letter of resignation to party chairperson Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo, a statement posted on the party's Facebook account on Tuesday, May 21, stated.
"As campaign manager for the Otso Diretso slate, I was unable to ensure our victory in the elections and I therefore assume full responsibility for the outcome and hold myself primarily accountable for this defeat and have tendered my resignation as president of the LP effective June 30, 2019," Pangilinan said in a statement posted on his Twitter
Quezon City Sixth District Representative Christopher Belmonte also resigned as LP secretary general.
Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, spokesperson of Robredo, said the Vice President rejected the resignations of the two LP officials, as "much work remains to be done, and they will do it, together."
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo described Pangilinan's resignation as commendable.
"That's commendable. He accepts defeat," Panelo said in a press conference Tuesday.
He said the Otso Diretso candidates lost because the people do not believe in them.
"Kaya natalo sila dahil ang taumbayan hindi naniwala sa kanila. Mas naniwala kay President Duterte," he added.
Sought for reaction on Robredo's decision, Panelo said: "That’s for her and the Senator Pangilinan to resolve. I really don’t know how to read those statements. What I know is he resigned -- the senator. and the VP rejected to accept the resignation. That's internal within the party. We will never interfere."
"Let LP speak for itself and we will watch in amusement," the Palace official added.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to proclaim the winning 12 senatorial candidates because votes from the United States have yet to arrive.
The COC from the US was the only COC that has yet to be canvassed by the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) as of Tuesday. There are 228,472 registered voters in the US.
As of Monday night, the top six in the senatorial race were reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar (25,215,678), reelectionist Senator Grace Poe (21,981,275), former presidential aide Christopher Go (20,579,811), Representative Pia Cayetano (19,719,629), ex-police chief Bato dela Rosa (18,922,017), and Senator Sonny Angara (18,110,367) .
Rounding up the top 12 were former senator Lito Lapid (16,932,255), Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos (15,811,231), former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino (15,446,517), Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel (14,617,686), former senator Bong Revilla (14,608,102), and Senator Nancy Binay (14,484,839).
Of the Otso Diretso candidates, Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV received the highest number of votes and was closest to the magic 12, with 14,117,528 as of Monday night.
Other Otso Diretso candidates are Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, former solicitor general Florin Hilbay, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, former senator Manuel Roxas II, and former congressman Erin Tañada.
Allegations of irregularities have hounded the senatorial race because of a seven-hour glitch in the transmittal of election returns through the Comelec transparency server after the May 13 elections.
The elections were also marred by the malfunctioning of about a thousand vote counting machines and the distribution of over a thousand faulty SD data cards. (MVI/Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)