Proud dilawan no more: Why Erice left LP and why Robredo isn’t the right leader
MANILA, Philippines — An incumbent lawmaker who used to be a long-time member of the Liberal Party (LP) admitted to leaving the party due to a lack of plans and its ongoing decline, which he attributed to a leadership problem with Vice President Leni Robredo.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Headstart on Tuesday, Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice said that Robredo, being LP’s chairperson, should have pointed a direction for the party amid the upcoming election season.
Erice recently left LP and joined Aksyon Demokratiko, which supports the presidential bid of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
“By September 15 nag-resign na ako kasi sabi ko, mukhang irrelevant na ‘yong partido dahil hindi na nakakaganap ng tungkulin nito. I think it’s a problem of leadership sa partido, at tama naman ako — dahil mas que si Vice President Leni hindi siya tumakbo sa Liberal Party,” he said.
(By September 15, I resigned because I thought the party was becoming irrelevant because it was already failing to do its responsibilities. I think it’s a leadership problem within the party, and I was right — even Vice President Leni did not run under the Liberal Party.)
LOOK: Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, a Liberal Party stalwart, leaves his party and takes oath as a new member of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno's Aksyon Demokratiko. 📸Julius Leonen, Manila Public Information Office
When asked if he thinks Robredo lacked leadership with what happened with LP, Erice answered yes. He also confirmed that many LP members in the party’s bailiwicks have already left.
“I think so, I think so. Kasi siya ang inaasahan namin na magbibigay ng direction sa aming lahat sa Partido Liberal. No’ng umalis ako marami nang tumawag sa akin na Liberal Party members and they joined Aksyon Demokratiko, even in the Visayas,” he explained.
(I think so, I think so because we are counting on her to set the direction for all of us in LP. When I left LP, many members called me up and eventually joined Aksyon Demokratiko including those in the Visayas.)
“I am not so familiar with that, I am not in charge of that, pero may mga tumawag sa akin (but some people called me up), from Iloilo, from the other parts of the country, from Laguna,” he added.
Erice — who called himself a certified “dilawan” in reference to the yellow motif of LP — said that it was hard for him to leave his party of over 18 years. But he eventually did so as they were unsure of what the party would do, especially in the roundup to the 2022 national elections.
According to him, he and other key LP members, like former Interior secretary Mar Roxas initiated talks with Robredo around three months ago to ask her about what would be LP’s plan for the 2022 polls.
However, Robredo told them that she was not planning to run for any elective post — even for the local elections. When they turned to LP secretary general and Quezon City 6th District Rep. Kit Belmonte, they were urged to wait as negotiations were already underway between Robredo and Moreno.
It could be recalled that the unity talks failed, with both Robredo and Moreno now running for the presidency.
“Very outspoken ako, hinahanap ko ‘yong kilos namin, pero matiyaga kong tinitignan, ano ba ‘yong kilos ng Partido Liberal, kung may kinakailangan bang baguhin, kung may kinakailangan bang restructuring […] para i-angat muli ‘yong Liberal Party. Pero wala akong nakitang ganyang kilos,” he said.
(I was very outspoken. I was looking for our movements. I was earnestly and patiently waiting for what LP would do if needed to change things from within, if there is a need for restructuring, to lift the Liberal Party again. But I did not see any movement.)
“Ang interes niya (Robredo), i-unify ang opposition (Her interest is to unify the opposition). And we are talking with the group of Mayor Isko, meron kaming (we had a) representative, si Congressman Belmonte, I was invited in one of the talks, and it seems okay,” he added.
Erice is now Aksyon Demokratiko’s chairman for its National Capital Region operations.
As to whether Roxas — Robredo’s running mate in the 2016 polls who accompanied Erice in his meeting with the Vice President — would leave the party to support Aksyon Demokratiko’s Moreno, he said he does not know.
“Mar Roxas will not leave the Liberal Party. ‘Yong mga founders ng Liberal Party umalis na sa Liberal, pero ang mga Roxases hindi umaalis ‘yan sa Liberal. They remained loyal to the Liberal Party. Ang kaibahan lang ngayon si Mar Roxas ay private citizen na, so dapat i-respeto na lang natin ‘yong privacy,” Erice said.
(Mar Roxas will not leave the Liberal Party. The founders of the Liberal Party have all gone, but the Roxases stayed. They remained loyal to the Liberal Party. The difference now is that Mar Roxas is already a private citizen, so we should respect his privacy.)
“Hindi ko alam ‘yan,” he replied if Roxas would back Moreno on a personal capacity. “Makikita natin ‘yan kung ano ‘yong sinusuportahan ng Roxas City, ng Capiz, kung sino ang sinusuportahan, ‘yon ang sinusuportahan ng pamilya Roxas.”
(I do not know that. However, it is likely that Roxas City and Capiz will also back the candidate whom the Roxas family supports.)
INQUIRER.net has contacted the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo for comment.
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