MANILA — The 2022 elections could serve as a "reset button" for Philippine politics, Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday, after her rival for the country's top job, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. clinched the backing of 3 former presidents.
The political parties of former presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last week formed an alliance to support Marcos and his runningmate Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"Iyong pulitika natin, parang naging exclusive siya sa may pera, may pangalan," Robredo said in a covenant signing with labor leaders.
"Palagay ko iyong 2022, napakahalagang eleksyon, lalo na kasi nagsanib puwersa na iyong mga malalaking pulitiko at pamilya. Pagkakataon ito for us na parang reset button, na ‘pag tinalo natin sila, umpisahan na natin iyong isang klase ng pulitika na lahat may pagkakataon," she continued.
(Our politics seems to have become exclusive for those with money and prominent family names. I think the 2022 elections is very important, especially since the big politicians and clans have teamed up. This is a chance for us to have a reset button. If we defeat them, we will usher in a new kind of politics where everyone has a chance.)
Robredo said she hoped for a political environment that would allow even ordinary citizens to get elected into public office.
She said the inclusion of labor leader Sonny Matula in her Senate slate is a "symbolism" that her camp is serious about this goal.
"Siguro mahihirapan si Atty. Sonny kasi ang papasukin natin, iyon pa rin na klase ng pulitika, pero dahil nagiging people’s movement ito, anything is possible," said the opposition leader.
"Ang lakas nating lahat nasa kamay natin so sana hindi mawalan ng pag-asa ang mga kasama natin," she added.
(Perhaps Atty. Sonny will find it difficult because we will enter the same kind of politics. But since this is becoming a people's movement, anything is possible. Our strength is in our hands so our compatriots should not lose hope.)
Robredo belongs to the political clique of the late former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, whose term oversaw Arroyo's nearly 4-year detention over corruption charges and whose parents helped topple the dictatorship of Marcos' father and namesake.
Marcos has emerged as the presidential frontrunner in an SWS survey last October, with 47 percent of respondents preferring him. Robredo trails at second place with 18 percent.
In 2016, Robredo joined national politics with dismal survey rankings but eventually defeated Marcos in the vice presidential race that he claimed was rigged. The Supreme Court junked his petition, cementing Robredo's victory.