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History of the Ideology of the Liberal Party

History of the Ideology of the Liberal Party

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Published by Steve B. Salonga

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Published by: Steve B. Salonga on Aug 24, 2010
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12/02/2012

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HISTORY AND SOME ASPECTS OF THE IDEOLOGY OF THELIBERAL
PARTY*
 Senate President JOVITO R. SALONGA
This is a transcript of a lecture delivered during the Basic Orientation Seminar on " Liberal Democracy" held at Subic, Zambales on April 7, 8, & 9, 1989. The same is incorporated in the LP Primer for Basic Orientation Seminar. 1989.
The word
liberal
, which is derived from the Latin term
liberalis
, meaning suitable for afreeman, is usually employed to characterize an individual who is broad-minded, tolerant,generous, or open handed. Which is why when we say
"Siya'y liberal sa paniniwala,"
wemean one who is open-minded or tolerant - the opposite of one who is narrow-minded,extremely traditional or conservative.From this concept we derive the word liberalism, a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of man, his desire for freedom, and his capability of exercising rational choice.Therefore, liberals all over the world have some common basic ideas, though they maydiffer with respect to other things:
the basic idea that every person wants to be fire and is capable of exercising rationalfree choice;
the basic idea that major institutions of society must admit of continuing reform andrevision in light of current conditions and needs.What is happening in the Soviet Union today is oftentimes called "liberalization."Glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) are the current manifestations of liberalization and democratization of Soviet society. In Eastern Europe, as in Hungary andPoland, in China, and in many places around the world, the movement towardsliberalization has become well nigh irreversible.
Roots of the LP; Pre-War Politics
Let us now go to the roots of the liberal Party in the Philippines. The Liberal Party wasborn only after our liberation from the Japanese in 1945. Its founder was Manuel Roxas,who first established the Liberal wing of the Nacionalista Party.There was only one major party that emerged from the ruins of war - the NacionalistaParty of Quezon (who died in U. S. in 1944) and its two strong pillars: namely, Sergio
History of the Ideology of the Liberal Party Philippines by Jovito R. Salonga 
1
 
Osme
ñ
a, Sr., who succeeded Quezon as Commonwealth president while in exile in the U.S., and Manuel Roxas, the eloquent younger man who was left behind.These two - Osme
ñ
a and Roxas - had been together in the early 30's in their fight againstQuezon over the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act (HHC) which they brought home from the U.S.Congress. The two composed the "Os-rox Mission", and they were the acknowledgedleaders of the "Pros" (in favor of the Act). Quezon opposed the HHC Act partly because itallowed the U. S. to continue maintaining its military bases in the Philippines, and mainly, -I presume - because he was not the leader of the Mission. Quezon headed the so-called"Antis," and two leaders of the opposition party (Partido Democrata), namely, Don JuanSumulong and Claro M. Recto joined him in opposing the HHC Act. So dominant andeffective was the hold of Quezon at the time, the
Kastila
- as he was then called -- got thePhilippine Legislature to reject what the Osrox team had brought home. Roxas was oustedfrom the speakership and Osme
ñ
a was repudiated. Quezon went to the U. S., lobbied withthe U. S. Congress and brought back the Tydings-McDuffie Act - essentially the same asthe HHC Act except for the provision on military bases.Since the Tydings-McDuffie Act was not too different, both Osme
ñ
a and Roxas were inestoppel to oppose it. The result was that the t00hree worked together again. The 1935Constitution was drafted by a Convention presided by Claro M. Recto; Quezon and Osme
ñ
aran for President and Vice-President, respectively, under the Commonwealth Government.Manuel Roxas became Secretary of Finance.Because he was a one-term president under the 1935 Constitution, the charter had to beamended to suit Quezon's wish to be reelected. "Four years, " Quezon pointed out, "is tooshort for a good president." A bicameral assembly was also established and Roxas, alongwith others, was elected to the Senate in 1941, shortly before the war.War came to the Philippines on December 8, 1941, and suddenly the political worldturned over.To sum up the situation at the outbreak of war, one could probably say that:1) The NP was the dominant party. The opposition parties were weak and disunited.2) By and large, our democracy was an elite democracy. The vast majority of the peoplehad little access to wealth and power.3) Politics revolved around personalities, rather than around issues and principles.4) In the face of the apparent strength of the Axis powers - which were dictatorships -our people maintained their loyalty to democracy, and since the U. S. was considered the
History of the Ideology of the Liberal Party Philippines by Jovito R. Salonga 
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leader of the free world, our people were, by and large, loyal to the United States.
The issue of collaboration: Osmena vs. Roxas
War, like martial law, placed political parties, except a few, in the deep freeze. Quezonand Osme
ñ
a established the Commonwealth Government in exile in Washington, but all theother important NP leaders were left behind - notably, Roxas, Laurel, Recto, Aquino,Rodriguez, Osias and others. The Japanese did not leave them alone - Amang Rodriguezwas imprisoned, but the others were co-opted by the Japanese. The puppet NationalAssembly elected Jose P. Laurel President of the Republic and Benigno Aquino, Sr.,Speaker of the Assembly. Manuel Roxas and Claro M. Recto were in Laurel's cabinet. Rectowas the Secretary of Foreign Affairs.The leaders of the small Opposition parties were split - Emilio Aguinaldo, who had runagainst Quezon, sided with the Japanese, as did Benigno Ramos of Ganap; but Pedro AbadSantos of the Socialist Party had worked against the Japanese and was imprisoned. TheHuks of Luis Taruc played an important role during the war.The various guerilla organizations that proliferated during the war projected a new set of national leaders - among them Macario Peralta, Ruperto Kangleon, Tomas Confesor,Alfredo Montelibano, Salipada Pendatun, Terry Adevoso, Alejo Santos and many others,including Ferdinand E. Marcos.It was inevitable that with the return of the Americans and the re-establishment of theCommonwealth in 1945, the one issue that would split the nation and the NacionalistaParty, was the issue of collaboration. Those connected with the Japanese, in varyingdegrees of cooperation, were called collaborators. Today, we use the term
balimbing
.It is possible that without the issue of collabora00tion, Manuel Roxas - who was with theLaurel Cabinet - would not have enough reason to fight his mentor and friend, SergioOsme
ñ
a, Sr. But war has a way of dividing even good friends. The sick, reluctant SergioOsme
ñ
a, Sr. ran for President, with Amang Rodriguez, who had been imprisoned, as hisVP; Manuel Roxas, who was then Senate President, (the Senate was convened in June 1945by Osme
ñ
a, in line with MacArthur's desire ran under the banner of the newly-formedLiberal Party, with Elpidio Quirino, who had also been imprisoned, his vice president.Note that the LP has its roots in the NP. Both parties in the election of April 1946promised they could get bigger U. S. aid than the other.It was an uneven fight. Osme
ñ
a was ailing and wanted to withdraw but was prevailedupon to continue; Roxas was younger and dynamic. And although Roxas championed the
History of the Ideology of the Liberal Party Philippines by Jovito R. Salonga 
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