MANILA – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said there have been no active efforts on their part to ask any presidential candidate to withdraw from the 2022 race.
This comes after Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso challenged Robredo to withdraw her candidacy and accused her camp of asking other candidates to step aside and support her fight against survey frontrunner former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
“We’ve answered this several times before and to be very clear, there have been no active efforts on our end to actually talk to any candidate, much less ask them to withdraw. Certainly, money was never ever on the table,” Robredo spokesperson Atty. Barry Gutierrez said.
The lawyer reiterated that former Quezon City Mayor Brigido “Jun” Simon, identified by some news reports as the one who asked some candidates to back out from the presidential derby to give way to Robredo, is not authorized to speak on behalf of their campaign team.
“Aside from that name, no other names have been mentioned, no other person has been identified as actually spearheading the supposed efforts so we are actually surprised at the insistence of some of these candidates that it was VP Leni who was asking them to withdraw.”
“She never did anything, and in fact, in all of her public statements, she has been very, very clear, we are no longer pursuing active efforts in this regard, although we remain open, to having conversations if people will talk to us,” he added.
Gutierrez, however, acknowledged that unification is now less likely given the statements that were made on the Sunday press conference.
“The efforts for unity to begin with always required some measure of commitment on the part of the people concerned to give way. Because obviously there can only be one candidate that you will be uniting around… while we remain open to possible conversations on unity in the remaining 19 days until election day, it seems that the space for that has narrowed because of the events of Easter Sunday,” he said.
At least 2 presidential candidates—Norberto Gonzales and Panfilo Lacson—have distanced themselves from Domagoso’s call for Robredo to resign.
Domagoso, however, stood by his statement, and has even asked the Robredo camp to not “be a bully.”
--ANC, 20 April 2022