Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan has resigned as president of the opposition Liberal Party following the unsuccessful bid of their senatorial candidates in the May 13 polls.
In a statement on Tuesday, Pangilinan said he takes responsibility for the complete shutout of their candidates.
"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," he said.
The senator handed his resignation letter to LP chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said they did not expect Pangilinan's resignation.
"We are deeply saddened by his resignation as our party president. We did not expect it, especially in times like this when we need a steady hand to lead the party alongside Vice President Leni Robredo,” he said in a separate. press statement.
He said Pangilinan worked "very hard and diligently to campaign for Otso Diretso candidates."
"Unfortunately, we lost," Drilon said, adding they will convince Pangilinan to reconsider his decision.
“While his resignation is a class act, we hope that he will reconsider his decision," Drilon said. "We will try to convince him to reconsider his decision and ask the party leadership to not accept his resignation."
Reelected Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher "Kit" Belmonte also said on Tuesday he has resigned as LP secretary general.
Vice President and LP Chairman Leni Robredo, however, rejected the resignation of Pangilinan and Belmonte.
"The Vice President has not accepted Senator Kiko’s and Cong. Kit’s resignations. Much work remains to be done, and they will do it, together," lawyer Barry Gutierrez, spokesperson of Robredo, said in a statement.
Malacañang on Tuesday commended Pangilinan’s decision to resign as LP president, saying it shows the senator accepts defeat.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the "overwhelming majority" of the electorate responded to the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to support those whom he said would help pass laws supportive of his goal "to uplift the masses of our people and give them comfortable lives they richly deserve."
Panelo said the voters rejected the negative propaganda unleashed by the opposition against the President and his administration such as extrajudicial killings, the drug war and the South China Sea dispute.
The Commission on Elections is set to proclaim the winning senatorial candidates and party-list groups this week.
As of Monday night and with only two of 167 certificates of canvass yet to be processed, none of Otso Diretso's candidates were in the top 12 "winning circle" based on the National Board of Canvassers' partial and official tally. —KBK/KG, GMA News