Liberal Party stalwart and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said assumptions that Vice President Leni Robredo is already giving up her possible presidential run in Eleksyon 2022 are “wrong and baseless.”
Drilon made the remark during a virtual press conference where he reiterated that the LP’s objective is for the opposition candidate to win the 2022 polls by building the broadest coalition possible.
“At this point, the Vice President is still looking at a possible run next year, but the first objective is to make sure that an opposition candidate wins. And therefore, the step number one is to unite everybody and that’s is where the vice president is at this time,” Drilon said.
“If she becomes the most viable candidate, she will ask the others to come around and support her because the objective is to have a united front, that’s where we are today, the assessment that she has given up is totally wrong and baseless,” he clarified.
Earlier, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV assumed that Robredo was “giving way” to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s presidential bid, warning the Vice President that he and the Magdalo Group won’t join an alliance that will support the senator’s presidency.
The former senator’s statement came after Lacson and Senator Richard Gordon bared that they discussed the 2022 elections with Robredo in separate meetings.
Trillanes also claimed that Robredo had declined his invitations to discuss their plans for the 2022 national and local elections.
But according to Drilon, Robredo’s discussions with Lacson and Gordon are part of the effort to unite the opposition ahead of the 2022 elections.
“I don’t agree that we should not talk to Senator Lacson and Senator Gordon. They have done their share in maintaining their principles. I disagree with Senator Trillanes, with all due respect,” he said.
“Certainly, talking to Senator Lacson and Senator Gordon is part of the effort of Vice President Leni to unite the opposition,” he added.
Drilon reiterated that the opposition is creating a “unified front” for the 2022 national and local elections and cancelling other prospective candidates as potential allies of the opposition is not a good strategy.
“I don’t agree with Senator Trillanes that we should not talk with other prospective candidates. I think we should have a big tent wherein we can attract all sectors who believe that the next administration should not be identified with the present administration and therefore a broader coalition is necessary,” he said.
“Maybe in another time, the ideal situation could be pushed, we should not talk to certain people, but I don’t agree, at this time, that it is a good strategy,” he added.
Moreover, Drilon expressed confidence that Robredo has a better chance of winning in the 2022 elections despite not topping the pre-elections survey.
He recalled that Robredo only had 1% support in the surveys conducted for the 2016 elections.
“She was one percent, do not forget that, she was one percent in the surveys. She decided to run for VP with 1% and she beat Bongbong Marcos,” Drilon said.
“Today, she is anywhere between 6 to 8 percent, depending on which survey you look at. So, she has a better chance today than she had in 2016. If she won with 1 percent at that time, she has a better chance with 6 to 8 percent today,” he added.
The LP stalwart then said it is critical for Robredo to decide on her presidential run as early as possible in order for them to deploy their resources for the opposition’s campaign.
He advised Robredo to halt talks about running for local posts, particularly the gubernatorial post in her hometown, Camarines Sur.
“It’s a question of being able to decide as soon as possible in order that the campaign trail [can be started.] That is why to me at this point, she should no longer entertain any local post and that has not been repeated so I assume, that is off the table,” he said.
“Insofar as the governorship of Cam Sur is concerned, I don’t hear that it is being considered,” he added.
Robredo earlier said she is looking at the “viability” of her possible presidential run.
The Vice President ranked sixth in the latest Pulse Asia Survey for possible presidential and vice presidential candidates for Eleksyon 2022. The ranking was dominated by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News