Senator Kiko’s resignation: delicadeza or graceful exit?

By: Atty. Ruphil F. Bañoc May 24,2019 - 06:32 AM


Finally, the Commission on Elections formally proclaimed on Wednesday the 12 senators who won in the May 13 elections. They are: Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Christopher Bong Go, Pia Cayetano, Ronald de la Rosa, Sony Angara, Lito Lapid, Imee Marcos, Francis Tolentino, Koko Pimentel, Bong Revilla and Nancy Binay.

Most of the winners are senators endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte and Davao City mayor Sarah Duterte-Carpio. No one from the opposition ticket, Otso Diretso, won in the recently held election.

Otso Diretso’s huge collapse triggered LP president and campaign manager Kiko Pangilinanan to resign from his post. The tenor of his resignation is his admission that he failed to ensure the victory of their candidates, and with that, he holds himself primarily accountable for the said defeat.  

Pangilinan’s resignation invites several interpretations. I just would like to discuss at least two. First, it was triggered by delicadeza, and second it’s a graceful exit. 

If it was triggered by delicadeza, Pangilanan showed his sportsmanship by accepting defeat and humility by taking the full responsibility for their candidates’ fate. In effect, he admitted that he failed as leader and as campaign manager of the party. Hence, he resigns to give way to anyone who can deliver. 

But everyone knows that there are many factors for the Otso Deritso’s candidates’ defeat in the last election. It is a fact that except Senators Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino, the rest are not yet prominent as compared to the winners. Also, their limited resources as manifested by their TV and radio ads prior to the election. 

Another factor is their style in their campaign that they always attacked a popular president. Plus they suffer from the issues of the previous administration such as the SAF 44, Dengvaxia controversy, Yolanda scandal, etcetera.

So Senator Franklin Drilon, LP Vice chairman precisely said that the opposition’s defeat was not the fault of Pangilinan as he exerted his best efforts as campaign manager.  If so, Vice President Leni Robredo, LP chairwoman, is correct in turning down Pangilanan’s resignation. After all, as Drilon said there was no clamor for Pangilinan to step down but for him to stay.

On the other hand, Pangilinan’s resignation can also be interpreted as graceful exit on his part as he is anticipating his reelection this coming 2022. Instinct must be telling him that his chance of winning in the next election depends on making himself appear independent rather than being identified with the LP. 

He wants to keep a distance from the LP as he notices that the party is not anymore appealing to the people. He must have realized that indeed the people are fully supporting the leadership of Duterte. He does not want to take the risk of swimming against the tide in 2022.

Pangilinan does not need look too far to know how the Filipino people love Duterte because he can observe it from his very own wife, Sharon Cuneta, who is a fan of the President. In fact, one time Sharon set an audience with the president and she proudly expressed that she is a Duterte supporter. 

Pangilinan realized their earlier statement that the midterm election was a referendum of the performance of President Duterte. The outcome of the last election should send him a strong message as to what formula he should use in his re-election bid. 

He can use either the formula of Mar Roxas and Bam Aquino who were affiliated with LP or the formula of Grace Poe who was an independent candidate. Or he can formulate his own winning formula for 2022.  

So is his resignation a delicadeza or graceful exit? The people are free to interpret. But Pangilinan surely knows the answer.  

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