Vice President Doy Laurel’s dramatic falling-out with President Cory Aquino gave impetus to the reorganization of the Nacionalista Party (NP) which, by this time, had been marred by internal dissensions among old party members. This was in 1989, the year when leaders of various opposition groups, disillusioned with Cory Aquino’s leadership, once again asked Doy to lead a united front against the administration. Typical of Doy, he did not hesitate and willingly accepted the challenge. “A real democracy,” said Doy, “requires a real opposition. Without a democratic opposition, there can be no hope for peaceful change.” This culminated, according to Vice President Laurel’s narrative in Neither Trumpets Nor Drums, in the Grand Reunion of the Nacionalista Party at the Hotel Intercontinental on March 9, 1989.
Shortly thereafter, a National Convention was finally held on May 21, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). After much deliberation and consultation, delegates to the Convention unanimously elected Vice President Laurel as Party President with Former Minister Blas Ople as Executive Vice President and Senator Juan Ponce Enrile as Secretary General. For a time, unity reigned over the party as past differences and derogatory party labels were removed in preparation for the 1992 presidential elections.
This was also the first time the Nacionalista Party adopted Doy’s mantra, Ang Bayan Higit sa Lahat− a phrase he coined by heart and had guided his actions since he entered public service− as its official slogan. From then on, Ang Bayan Higit sa Lahat has become a political battlecry whose etymology is Doy’s alone.