MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo's decision to run for president as an independent was "more tactical than anything else," a member of the Liberal Party said Wednesday.
Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy last Thursday, wearing the color pink, with LP president Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as her running mate.
The Vice President is still with the party but filed her COC as an independent to be "more inclusive," said former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who's running for the Senate.
The use of a different color also makes politicians who want to support Robredo "more comfortable," he added.
"Maraming mga grupo (Many groups), her base, unaligned persons or non-partisan organizations who feel they really like to support VP Leni but they don’t want to be identified as liberal," he told ANC's Headstart.
"The use of colors during elections is popular but what's more important is what you represent. If Leni Robredo represents hope, she represents genuine change and if she feels pink is the color representation then we're fine with it. The decision to run as independent was more tactical than anything else."
Baguilat noted that many of the presidential candidates have transferred to or filed their COCs under different parties.
He cited as examples Manila Mayor Isko Moreno who transferred from United Nationalist Alliance to Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino to National Unity Party to Aksyon Demokratiko, Senator Manny Pacquiao from PDP-Laban to Promdi Partylist, and Bongbong Marcos from Nacionalista Party to Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.
"Si Leni lang is still with the Liberal Party but filing as independent to be more inclusive," he said.
Robredo's decision to make Pangilinan her vice president "solidifies" the Liberal Party's base, he added.
Baguilat, on social media, said he felt "betrayed" by former Liberal Party stalwart Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice who has transferred to Aksyon Demokratiko and said Robredo committed "intellectual dishonesty" in her unification efforts.
"I feel betrayed. Cong Egay Erice. We fought for our principles for 3 years in the opposition. We were harassed, tinanggalan ng pondo, pinahirapan (defunded, and faced difficulties). But we persevered, inspired by VP Leni’s leadership. Now, selling your soul for 20 pcs of silver?" he said in a tweet.
"We understand Erice is fighting for his life to be mayor of Caloocan...I'm not here to pick a fight with him, just setting the facts straight," he told ANC's Headstart.
Baguilat also denied Erice's claim that should Robredo withdraw, some 90 percent of her votes would go to Domagoso.
"The base is the opposition since 2016...that's not Isko's base. We can always say also that should Isko or Manny [withdraw] pupunta din sila kay ma'am. Our base will continue to flourish whether Isko stays or withdraw from the race," he said.
(We can always say also that could if Isko or Manny withdraws, the votes would go to ma'am Leni.)
Currently there is no negotiation talks at the national level but there are discussions to fill up Robredo's Senate slate, Baguilat said.