MANILA - Despite recent presidential bid announcements, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday she is still hopeful that the opposition's unification talks for the 2022 elections will prosper before the closing of the filing of candidacy next month.
The Vice President said she was in no hurry to decide given the deadline of filing of COCs on Oct. 8.
“Sa akin, dalawang linggo pa eh. Tinitignan natin kung may pag-asa pang magsama-sama,” Robredo said in her weekly radio program.
(For me, there are still two weeks remaining. So, we're still looking at the possibility of uniting.)
“Siguro mayroong iba na di na natin ma-aaya. Pero hanggang may communication lines pang bukas, patuloy ko itong ipu-pursue,” she added.
(Maybe we can't encourage others anymore. But as long as communication lines are open, I will pursue this.)
Robredo had said it is important to field a strong candidate against the administration's bet as she feels the country can no longer stand the current kind of governance.
She remained mum on her talks with Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso, whose campaign manager told TeleRadyo last Wednesday that he would not give way to Robredo following his presidential bid declaration.
“Ayoko din i-discuss ang detalye kasi ayokong ma-compromise yung mga pag-uusap saka negotiations. Pero yung sa akin, hangga't hindi pa nagfa-file, may pag-asa pa naman. And sana, yun naman ang parati kong appeal, na sana ang desisyon naming lahat, kung ano yung makakabuti sa bayan,” she said.
(I don't want to discuss the details because I don't want to compromise the negotiations. But for me, until the COC has been filed, there's still hope. My appeal as always is for us to decide what will be good for the nation.)
Robredo believes there is danger if the opposition could not unify against the administration bets.
“2022, ang daming nakakatakot na scenario ang pwedeng mangyari. Number one na nakakatakot na scenario — makabalik ang mga Marcos. Ang pangalawang nakakatakot na scenario - yung nangyayari ngayon, patuloy na mangyayari in 6 years,” she said.
(There are many worrisome scenarios that could happen. Number one is for the Marcoses to return to power. Second is for what's happening now to continue in the next 6 years.)
“Sa akin, the more na magkaisa kami, the more na mabawasan yung tatakbo against the administration, mas mabuti. Dahil may two weeks pa, di ko mamadaliin ang sarili ko,” she added.
(The more we unite, the fewer candidates against the administration, the better. There are still two weeks left, I will not rush myself.)
This is particularly important, Robredo insisted, since the Duterte administration is currently embroiled in massive corruption issues, particularly on the purchase of anti-pandemic supplies from Pharmally Pharmaceuticals worth billions of pesos.
“Di na nga forgivable ang korupsyon at any stage, lalo pa ngayong pandemic. Pag nanonood ako (ng Senate hearing), ang isip ko lang - paano kaya nakakatulog ang mga taong ito? Ang daming Pilipinong naghihirap ang iniisip pa nila ang dilihensya,” she said.
(Corruption is not forgivable at any stage, especially during the pandemic. When I watch the Senate hearings, I wound how could they sleep at night. Many people are struggling, yet others still managed to engage in profiteering.)
Robredo is also worried that if the Marcoses return to power, the atrocities committed and ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Martial Law era will be forgotten.
“Pag binasa mo ang social media pages na ginawa ng mga Marcos, pinapalabas lang nila na chismis lang yun, sinisiraan sila. In fact... yung nakaw na yaman andiyan. Parang nakakalimutan ng tao na 21 years silang naka-upo. Nung umalis sila, baon na baon tayo sa utang na hanggang ngayon binabayaran natin ang utang na iyon,” she said.
(When you read the social media pages of the Marcoses, they make it seem like everything's a gossip, that they're being maligned. When in fact, there's ill-gotten wealth. It's like people forgot they were in power for 21 years. When they left, we were buried in debt which we're still paying for until now.)
But as to which position she would run for, Robredo said there were still factors she still has to determine.
“Sa ngayon, di ko pa alam eh. So maraming dasal ang kailangan,” she said.
(I still don't know, I need more prayers.)
She apologized to her listeners and followers for taking her time to decide.
“Di po ito desisyon na gusto kong kumandidato, hindi. Lagpas na po iyon. Sa ngayon, ang aking pagdedesisyon ay kung ano ba ang pinaka-makakabuti para sa atin. So humihingi po ako ng paumanhin. Nagpapasalamat ako sa inyong lahat,” Robredo said.
(It's not a decision on whether I want to run or not. It's past that. Now my decision is what will be the best for our country. So, I apologize, and I thank you all.)
Aside from Domagoso, Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Manny Pacquiao have also declared their intention to run for president during the May 9, 2022 elections, the latter as standard bearer of a faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
Opposition coalition 1Sambayan said its consultation with Robredo, Domagoso, former senator Antonio Trillanes IV, and Pacquiao continues.
"Mananatiling tapat ang 1SAMBAYAN sa adhikaing pumili ng tamang Pambato. Kaya’t patuloy naming isusulong ang pagkakaisa o unity sa aming mga nominado para sa isang Unity Ticket upang labanan kung sino man ang babasbasan ng administrasyong Duterte sa susunod na halalan," it said in a statement.
(1SAMBAYAN will remain true in its advocacy to choose the right candidate. So we continue to push for unity among our nominees for one Unity Ticket to oppose in the next elections whoever the Duterte administration chooses.)
The other faction of PDP-Laban which is being backed by Duterte has nominated Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go as its presidential candidate next year, but the latter declined. Duterte, on the other hand, already formally accepted his nomination as its vice presidential candidate.
The Duterte-backed faction had described Pacquiao as acting like being in the political opposition already. The boxer-senator has criticized Duterte, a former ally, over his policy on China and alleged corruption during the current administration.