VICE President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo should run for president because she is the only one who can unite the opposition, an official of the Liberal Party (LP) said on Wednesday.
Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher ‘Kit’ Belmonte, LP secretary-general, said:
‘Only the VP can unite all pro-democracy forces. And as she would always say: ‘Hindi pwedeng tayo-tayo lang.’ Hindi pwedeng nasa mga sarili nating echo chamber lang tayo lagi (We cannot do it alone. We cannot stay in our echo chamber always) We need to reach out and listen to others.’
This comes as former senator Antonio ‘Sonny’ Trillanes 4th, a member of opposition coalition 1Sambayan, hit the LP for considering Sen. Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao, president of the ruling party PDP-Laban, and Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso as possible presidential bets.
‘Last week, nag-announce ang LP na bukas sila sa pagtulak kina Isko at Pacquiao bilang kandidato para sa 2022. Meron ba itong basbas ni VP? (Last week, the LP announced it is open to pushing Isko and Pacquiao’s candidacy for 2022. Does this have the blessing of VP),’ Trillanes said in a tweet.
He was referring to the statement of Sen. Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, where the LP president said the party was open to reaching out to Pacquiao and Moreno about their plans for 2022.
‘[5 years] tayong nagsakripisyong labanan ang mga kasamaan ni Duterte, tapos, mauuwi lang tayo sa pro-Duts candidates? ‘Di ito katanggap-tanggap! (We have sacrificed for five years to fight against the evilness of Duterte, yet we’re only going to end up with pro-Duterte candidates? This is not acceptable),’ Trillanes said.
Belmonte said though he respects and admires Trillanes for his ‘steadfastness’ in fighting against corruption and authoritarianism, ‘how he wants to run his presidential campaign is his prerogative.’
‘Sa aking pananaw, si [VP Leni Robredo] ang lider ng opposition at ang dapat tumakbong presidente (In my opinion, VP Leni Robredo is the leader of the opposition and the one who should run for president),’ he said.
Trillanes had said he was willing to give way to Robredo if she seeks the highest post in the country.
Former Ifugao Rep. Teodoro ‘Teddy’ Baguilat, vice president for internal affairs of the LP, meanwhile, said opposition forces should not lose sight of their key objective, which is ‘to defeat corrupt dictators and authoritarians in the making.’
Baguilat also reiterated that the LP is still in ‘full throttle to push for and strengthen the candidacy’ of Robredo as its standard-bearer in 2022.
‘We are talking to other groups, so that we will have the broadest coalition in case [VP Leni] finally decides,’ he said, adding that ‘no formal talks’ have been made yet.
‘The outcome of 2022 is bigger than us. And it’s important to talk to others who can be instrumental in making sure dictators don’t win next year,’ Baguilat said.
Robredo, who sits as chairman of the LP, has yet to decide whether she would run for president, as she is still occupied with her programs to curb the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
But the vice president said she understands the need for her to finalize her political plans and that she is working on a ‘unity ticket’ for the opposition.
Trillanes and Robredo are two of six nominees of the 1Sambayan coalition for president. They are the only ones who have not declined the nomination.
/ART — AdChoiceTV News (Manila)