LP honors senators who kicked out US bases
The political party of several senators who steered the Philippine Senate 26 years ago into rejecting a treaty that would have prolonged the stay of US military bases in the country paid tribute to the historic vote and the 12 senators who cast it.
In a statement, the Liberal Party (LP) said the rejection of the treaty with the United States by the Philippine Senate “signaled our break from our colonial past.”
Following the Senate vote on Sept. 16, 1991, the LP statement said the Philippines showed it could stand on its own and “the people could surmount the challenges they face today if they go beyond their differences.”
“Twenty-six years back, few could imagine life without the US military bases,” said the LP.
“But after the bases left, the economy did not collapse, the communists did not invade us, the investors did not leave. The Philippines is, in fact, a thriving economy,” the party added.
LP stalwart and then Senate President Jovito Salonga broke an 11-11 tie and cast the 12th vote to reject the bases treaty despite a personal appeal and intense lobbying by democracy icon and then President Corazon Aquino.
Other than the LP senators who voted to reject the treaty were Wigberto Tañada and Victor Ziga.
They were joined by other then senators — Agapito “Butz” Aquino, Juan Ponce Enrile, Joseph Estrada, Teofisto Guingona Jr., Sotero Laurel II, Ernesto Maceda Jr., Orlando Mercado, Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Rene Saguisag.
“Although prompted by different motivations and party principles, all 12 cast the decisive vote that signaled our break from our colonial past,” said the LP statement.
Analysts said the bases vote cost Salonga the presidency when he ran in 1992, in elections won by Fidel Ramos. Salonga died on March 10, 2016.
“He made his choice because he knew that breaking the vestiges of colonialism holds more value than any political office and its perks,” the LP said.
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