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Lagman urges Liberals to be ‘free men’ despite Duterte link

/ 04:21 PM January 24, 2017
Edcel Lagman

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

A Liberal Party lawmaker on Tuesday called on his colleagues who aligned with the “supermajority” in Congress to become free men and register dissent.

In an interview at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman made the call on his fellow Liberals to dare to become free men, true to the meaning of the word liberal, despite its alliance with the majority coalition.

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Lagman called on the Liberal Party members who joined the supermajority of allies of the President in Congress to register dissent on controversial administration pet bills, such as the restoration of the death penalty, lowering the age of criminal responsibility and Charter change for federalism.

READ: Opposition solons call for ‘conscience vote’ on death penalty

“We are still expecting that members of the party would be free men. Because the word liberal comes from the Latin term liberatis, which means suitable for free men,” Lagman said.

“The core of the times will have free men to readily manifest their critical dissent, not to be cowed by fear nor to be temporized by patronage,” Lagman added.

Lagman said the meeting with LP mayors and governors at Mesa restaurant at Tomas Morato last Thursday night was purely social and not to talk on the political future of the decimated former ruling party.

“Nothing significant politically has been talked about in the meeting. It was purely social. But I think there was an agreement, the party members would have to meet subsequently in order to discuss important matters,” Lagman said.

Lagman said the restaurant which could accommodate 250 people was packed, denying reports that the former ruling party under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III had been reduced to a few members.

The former ruling party was decimated after its members jumped ship to the new ruling party Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) at the turn of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The message was really, that the unity of the party is appreciated. But more than that, I think it was purely a social event,” Lagman said.

Lagman said the meeting was presided over by Aquino as chairman emeritus, Senator Francis Pangilinan as acting president and Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo as party chairperson.

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Lagman denied anew Duterte’s allegation that the Liberal Party is behind any ouster plot against him.

“There was no conspiracy as far as the president is concerned. There are suspected conspirators in the group, but definitely no conspiracy,” Lagman said. RAM/rga

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TAGS: Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, House of Representatives, Liberal Party, Liberals, supermajority
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