Saturday, January 21, 2006

Liberal Party at 60: Divided, but Inspired

My job demands that I spend many hours in talks and sessions with people working for and in political parties. My focus is liberal and partisan: I make a point not to get to close to other ideological mainstreams.

At the end of this week, I have the feeling I have rarely spent more hours at political party activities than in these past days, attending the numerous events in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Liberal Party of the Philippines (LP).

Politically, the timing of the anniversary was all but ideal. The Liberals are (deeply) divided. One side has joined the opposition against President GMA. The other side supports her. The latter group is headed by the Mayor of Manila. He organized a huge rally at Plaza Miranda to demonstrate his support for the president (and, at the same time, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the party which he chairs).

I have many good friends in both Liberal camps. Therefore, it was only normal that I attended both the Plaza Miranda affair as well as the numerous activities organized by the headquarters of the party (identified with the LP and Senate President Franklin Drilon). Those activities were impressive. As I am fond of political discourse and intellectual debates and don’t enjoy too much noisy mass rallies, I felt more at home at the latter activities.

I could fill a book with the many interesting impressions, information and discussions of these past three days of Liberal celebrations. But I will limit myself to three quotes of liberal leaders which I find relevant for the debate on the future of organized liberalism in the Philippines:

"Nowhere in the world can you find a stable democracy without strong political parties."
Senator Francis Pangilinan, Vice Chairman Liberal Party

United, there is little we cannot do; divided, there is little that we can do.”

Franklin M. Drilon, Senate President, President Liberal Party.

“Without power, principles are impotent in influencing public affairs. Without principle, power is easily prostituted to passing fancies…Working on the correct balance between the demands of power and fulfilling the calling of principles is going to be the main issue in defining the future character of the Liberal Party.”

Mario Taguiwalo, President, National Institute for Policy Studies (NIPS)


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Blogger pinoy_ofw said...

Is that Sen. Jovito Salonga?

Is he still alive?

Jeez, I'm out of touch.

12:45 PM  
Blogger meinardus said...

yes, that's the grand old man of philippine liberalism. not only is he still alive, he is also on top of things. i just met him early this week. it is always rewarding to listen to him!

8:08 PM  

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