MANILA – A unity opposition candidate is still possible, 1Sambayan convenor Atty. Howard Calleja said, as Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso declared his presidential candidacy Wednesday.
The opposition coalition was choosing from among Domagoso, Vice President Leni Robredo, and former senator Antonio Trillanes IV as bet for President in an internal survey among its members.
Calleja noted that when they named their possible presidential candidates in June, it was not yet clear whether or not these candidates would indeed run for the highest office in the land.
“Tingin ko nga mas lumalakas yung posible na magkakaroon tayo ng unified candidate, dahil kung titingnan mo, nung nagsimula kami nung Marso, nagsimula at saka nag-anunsiyo kami ng June, ang sabi sa amin nung time na yun eh tingnan niyo, nag-announce kayo ng mga tao, ng mga kandidato, mga nominado pero hindi pala sila tatakbo. Hindi pala sila sigurado kung sila ay tatakbo bakit niyo nilalagay sa inyong listahan?”
“At ang sabi nila, hindi pa ito panahon ng pulitika, panahon pa ito ng pagsugpo ng pandemya. Ngayon naman po, nagagalak ako na yung mga pinangalanan namin na yung mga kinukonsidera namin na bilang mga maging kandidato ng democratic forces ay, yun na nga, nagdedeklara,” he explained.
“Ang maganda nito, all of them, or most of them now, have declared their intention and willingness to run. Hindi katulad dati na titingnan natin kung tatakbo sila or hindi. So we are one step closer,” he said in a TeleRadyo interview.
“That’s why sabi ko, mas malapit tayo sa unity because we are one step closer. Because the question of whether they would run or not, na-solve na natin.”
Calleja said things may still change between now and November 15, the deadline set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the substitution of candidates.
“So I think we have to make a difference between announcement, now, filing between October 1 and 8, and then actually there’s another period of [until] November 15, which is the replacements, switching, or substitution, or whatever you want to call it.”
The lawyer said what’s important now is that lines of communication between the presidential aspirants and their parties remain open.
“Hindi naman ibig sabihin na lahat sila nagdeklara eh hindi naman sila makikipag-usap,” Calleja said.
“At sabi ko nga, what is important is bukas yung ating linya ng komunikasyon, bukas yung ating mga pag-uusap,” he added.
“We have crossed one bridge, which is the bridge--we have asked if they are willing to run. The next bridge now is whether they would be together passing the next bridge united in one front.”
To date, three politicians have declared their intention to run for president: Domagoso, Senator Panfilo Lacson, and Senator Manny Pacquiao.
Robredo has said she is “ready” to file her certificate of candidacy for president if chosen as the bet of a united opposition in the 2022 national elections.
--Teleradyo, 22 September 2021