“IT’S A free society.”
This was what Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo had to say on Wednesday, March 28, a day after opposition group Liberal Party (LP) bared its plan to create a “resistance”coalition in time for the 2019 midterm elections.
The coalition is envisioned to voice “strong opposition” to several pressing issues hounding the country, including the supposed extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses.
“There’s nothing new there that they’be been resisting the policies of this administration. But they can always try, they can always fail, and they can always try to repeat what they have failed,” Panelo said in a chance interview with Palace reporters.
“They are welcome. We welcome them. It’s a free society,” he added.
On Tuesday, Senator Francis Pangilinan, who currently sits as LP president, said the opposition group is eyeing to push for a “resistance” coalition that will unite and go against looming dictatorship in a bid to allow democracy to prevail in the country.
Pangilinan floated the idea after his colleague in the Senate minority, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, sought a “genuine” opposition slate for next year’s polls.
“Resistance is our movement. We must vigorously resist the slide to authoritarianism and anti-democratic rule,” Pangilinan said. “Democracy demands dissent. We need a strong opposition to ensure that our democracy remains vibrant.”
Amid LP’s pronouncement, Panelo stressed President Rodrigo Duterte would play a key role in helping his allies who want to run in the 2019 elections.
Panelo said he believed that candidates from Duterte’s party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, would have an edge over other candidates from other parties.
“The President’s endorsement would vastly help in the winning of the senatorial candidates. If they are endorsed by the President, I am sure it will help a lot,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)