MANILA (UPDATED) - Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday said he hopes Vice-President Leni Robredo would announce her plans for the 2022 elections soon, as more people have announced their bid for the presidency.
"Muli, nananawagan kaming mga Magdalo kay VP Leni na magbigay na ng agarang desisyon ukol sa darating na 2022 elections," said Trillanes, chairman of the Magdalo group.
(The Magdalo group is calling on VP Leni to make an immediate decision regarding the 2022 elections.)
"Kailangan nang sagutin ang pangamba ng karamihan kung pamumunuan niya ba ang tunay na oposisyon sa pamamagitan ng pagtakbo bilang presidente o ipapaubaya na lang sa iba na ipagpatuloy ang laban tungo sa tunay na pagbabago.
"Hindi tayo nagmamadali pero hindi rin dapat tayo nagpapahuli sa usapin ng taumbayan."
(We need to respond to those who are concerned whether she will lead the real opposition by running for president or she will let others take the lead as we embark on a path toward real change. We are not in a rush, but at the same time we do not want to be behind when it comes to matters concerning the people.)
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson have announced their intent to become president ahead of the Oct. 1 to 8 filing of candidacies.
Robredo last week said she was giving herself until the fourth week of September to finalize her 2022 plans.
“Subalit ngayong isang linggo na lang ang nalalabi bago ang filing ng certificate of candidacy, naniniwala kami na sapat na panahon na ang nagdaan para sa kanyang masusing pagsusuri at pagtimbang sa kung ano ang makakabuti sa ating bansa. Handang-handa na rin kaming mga pwersa ng oposisyon na nagkakaisa sa likod ni VP Leni para itulak ang kanyang kandidatura sa pagka-pangulo. Kumbinsido rin kami na mananalo si VP Leni sa pagkapangulo sa oras na ituloy nya ang kanyang pagtakbo,” said Trillanes.
(With only one week left before the filing of certificate of candidacy, we believe that she has been given enough time to think it through and decide on what’s good for the country. The opposition is united and ready to support VP Leni’s candidacy for president. We are convinced that VP Leni will win if she decides to run for president.)
The hashtag #LabanLeni2022 topped Philippine Twitter trends, with supporters urging the Vice President to eye succeeding President Rodrigo Duterte.
But a political analyst in an interview on Wednesday said that it may now be harder to unite the political opposition under Robredo, should she decide to run for president next year.
“I think one of the conditions that VP Leni Robredo cited was she’s going to be behind a united opposition. But with the proclamation and the announcement of Mayor Isko Moreno and prior to that, of Senator Manny Pacquiao, the question now is which opposition is going to be united? Or will there be, will there still be an opposition that will be united by VP Leni?” said Professor Edna Co, who heads the University of the Philippines’ extension program in Pampanga.
1Sambayan convenor Atty. Howard Calleja believes otherwise. He said a unity opposition candidate is still possible. The opposition coalition was choosing from among Robredo, Domagoso, and 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.
“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,” said Calleja in an interview on TeleRadyo on Wednesday.
But should Robredo decide to back out from the presidential race, Trillanes said the Magdalo, which he said has long dedicated its fight against corruption and abuses, is ready to step in to fill in the gap.
“Hindi kami aatras sa hamong ito. Kung handa na si VP Leni, ipapanalo natin siya. Kung hindi naman siya tutuloy, nakahanda ang Magdalo,” he said.
(We will not back down from this challenge. If VP Leni is ready, we will make her win. If not, the Magdalo is ready.)