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2019 polls an 'uphill climb' for the opposition —VP Leni

It will be an "uphill climb" for opposition candidates in the 2019 elections due to President Rodrigo Duterte's popularity, according to Vice President Leni Robredo.

"Elections in May 2019 will be tough for the opposition. The President is still very popular, and the candidates that he will endorse would have... you know... would benefit from the President’s popularity," Robredo said during a leadership forum in Washington on Thursday.

"You don't join political parties because you believe in the values of the political parties. It's really more personality-oriented. So it is an uphill climb for the opposition."

Robredo chairs the Liberal Party, which leads the opposition coalition for next year's midterm elections.

The opposition slate is composed of:

  • former Interior and Local Government secretary Mar Roxas,
  • Sen. Bam Aquino,
  • former Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada III,
  • human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno,
  • aid worker and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao assemblywoman Samira Gutoc,
  • election lawyer Romulo Macalintal,
  • former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, and
  • Rep. Gary Alejano of Magdalo party-list

Of these eight, only Roxas and Aquino have figured in the top 12 or winners' circle in pre-election surveys.

Duterte's trust and satisfaction ratings, on the other hand, have remained not lower than 49 percent, which pollsters still consider very good.

Robredo, however, clarified that the opposition is not waving the white flag.

"We are hopeful that we will be able to win a number of seats. Instead of 12, we’re putting up only eight. And it’s a strategy. We decided to put up names of really very good people, so that we could differentiate from the names put up by the administration," she said. —KBK, GMA News