Colmenares says Trillanes behind exclusion from Robredo senatorial slate

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2021 04:10 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2021 10:23 AM

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and former Sen. Antonio
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and former Sen. Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV

MANILA— Former party-list lawmaker Neri Colmenares has said former senator Antonio Trillanes IV wanted him out of Vice President Leni Robredo's senatorial lineup, noting that the Makabayan bloc missed the chance of consulting with the presidential aspirant.

Robredo named her 11-strong Senate slate on Friday, which includes Trillanes. The last slot is supposedly reserved for the person who would best represent marginalized sectors. 

Her camp is choosing among 5 nominees, including Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula. 

"Nabanggit 'yan, it was Sen. Trillanes... we would be happy if we could have sat down with the Vice President so they could discuss with us not just the platform but also the concerns and objections in full so we can respond naman," Colmenares told ANC's After the Fact on Friday. 

"We never had a chance. The presidential campaign will, I'm sure, talk to organizations like Makabayan because I think naman may recognition that Makabayan is an opposition," said the former Bayan Muna representative. 

(I think there is a recognition that Makabayan is an opposition)

When asked why Trillanes supposedly pushed Colmenares out of the slate, he said it was because of Makabayan's alleged ties to communists and to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, another presidential aspirant. 

He said he was also "disappointed" that Trillanes, a former navy officer, would make such allegations against a fellow opposition candidate, citing the latter's supposed internal "information." 

"Yung links kay Isko... wala kaming, Makabayan has no decision, has no links na magsuporta... to imply that we have already decided, I don't see any basis to that," he said.

(Makabayan has no decision when it comes to supporting Isko.)

"I think, medyo nadismaya lang ako na a senatorial slate of the opposition will say these intrigues and likes against fellow opposition candidate... Opposition din kami, marami na sa amin ang namatay, marami na sa amin ang nakulong."

(I am disappointed... we are also part of the opposition, a lot of us have died and got jailed.)

Colmenares added that it is "important" for Makabayan's coalition to sit down with Robredo and talk about their platform. 

He added that they reached out to Robredo even before she said she would run for president. 

"Being in the slate is welcome kung sakaling makasama sa slate, but it's not merely a question of what's in it for me," said Colmenares. 

Despite all these, they still want President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies to be defeated in national posts next year. 

Trillanes on Saturday said the Makabayan bloc has yet to endorse Robredo's presidency and claimed that they voted for Domagoso in their internal poll. 

"Makabayan wants Neri to be included in VP’s slate. But Makabayan has yet to endorse VP," he said in a tweet. 

"In fact, in 1Sambayan, they did not vote for VP, and were pushing for Isko. They even tried to stop the 1Sambayan endorsement of Leni. Pwede ba, wag ako (please, not me)," said Trillanes. 

1Sambayan is the opposition coalition that has endorsed Robredo's candidacy. The vice president is running as an independent candidate. 

In a social-media post, the Makabayan bloc refuted Trillanes’ allegations.

“At this point, we believe that the focus should be on forging the broadest unity among democratic forces and against Duterte and Marcos,” the group said.

Colmenares, a former Bayan Muna party-list representative and current chairman of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers, finished outside the top 20 in a losing senatorial bid in 2019.

He is guest candidate of presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao. 

Robredo's unity ticket, meanwhile, includes re-electionists and former officials seeking to make a comeback. The roster includes personalities with a history of divergence, but Robredo said they were selected for their willingness to unite and for their shared aspirations for the country.