Ka Leody says not backing out of presidential race but willing to engage in unity talks

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2021 08:44 PM

 Photos from Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News, and OVP Handout.
Photos from Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News, and OVP Handout.

MANILA — Labor leader Leody de Guzman said Wednesday he will not back out of the presidential race next year even as he expressed willingness to engage in unity talks with fellow aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo in light of what he regards as their "common enemy".

"Hindi po tayo aatras. Malinaw 'yan sa akin, sa aking partido, at sa masang Pilipino na naniniwala sa Manggagawa Naman sa 2022’," the Partido Lakas ng Masa 2022 standard bearer told reporters. 

(We will not back out. That is clear to me, to my party, and to the Filipino masses who believe in our call that it's the workers' turn in 2022.)

"Madalas akong tinatanong ng media kung handa daw ba akong iatras ang aking kandidatura at suportahan ang isa sa aking mga katunggali. Nararapat lamang na bigyan diin, ang aking kandidatura ay bunsod ng paghahangad ng masang Pilipino para sa makabuluhang pagbabago sa buhay pulitika at ekonomiya ng bansa. Kongkretisasyon nito ay ang plataporma na naka-sentro sa ‘Labor First policy’, at pag-ahon sa krisis ng dulot ng pandemya at klima," he said.

(The media often ask me if I am ready to withdraw my candidacy and support one of my opponents. It is vital to emphasize that my candidacy is the result of the Filipino masses' desire for significant change in the country's state of politics and economy. And we are concretizing this through our platform centered on ‘Labor First policy’ and rising from the crisis caused by pandemic and climate.)

De Guzman said if unity talks will occur with other candidates, he will make sure it will center on the interests of the Filipino people.

"Bukas kaming makipag-usap sa lahat ng kandidato na seryoso sa layunin na resolbahin ang mga krisis na pinagdadaanan ng masa, kabilang ang pagdiskaril sa tambalang Marcos-Duterte," he said.

(We are open to talking to all candidates who are serious in resolving the crises that the masses are going through, including the derailment of the Marcos-Duterte tandem.)

De Guzman sought for an opportunity to talk to Robredo, saying “they have one common enemy.”

In a press conference of an alliance launched against the ticket of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, De Guzman said people should focus on blocking the tandem's bid instead of making him go head-to-head with Robredo.

The alliance includes 1Sambayan which endorsed Robredo for president, and other progressive groups. 

“Ako, ayoko nang masyadong pagsasagutin ... Pwede naman kaming dalawa o kung sinuman ang makapag-usap at doon na namin tayuin,” De Guzman said. 

(I don't want to talk too much... Let the two of us, or whoever can talk have the conversation, and we can build on that already.)

“Kasi, 'di ba, baka maging usapin ng Leni at Leody ito. Eh ang pinag-uusapan natin, paghahandaan, ‘yung pagbabalik ni Marcos at Duterte,” he added.

(Because some may see this as a Leni-and-Leody issue. But what we should be talking, what we should prepare for is the possible return of the Marcoses and the Dutertes.)

De Guzman said he is open to talk for a unified battle but hopes Robredo's stand on issues involving the people is clear.

“Marami na tayong pinalitan eh (na presidente) … ‘Yung problema, ‘yung kabuhayan ng mga tao, ‘yung kahirapan ng mga tao, ‘yung karapatan ng mga tao. Doon tayo nagkukulang. Nase-set aside ba,” he said. 

(We have changed a lot of presidents … The real problem is the livelihood of the people, the hardships of the people, the rights of the people. That is where we are lacking. These concerns have been set aside.)

“Tingin ko, mas magiging matibay, agresibo, mas substantial ‘yung pagkilos ng masa kung may klarong tindig doon sa deka-dekadang problema nila na hindi ina-address.”

(I think the action of the masses will be stronger, more aggressive, more substantial if there is a clear stance on their decades-long problems that have not been addressed.)

Hoping to succeed Robredo, vice presidential aspirant Walden Bello said that while both of them are on the same side on several issues, they need to work to be able to "get to the same page."

— with reports from Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

RELATED VIDEO:

Watch more on iWantTFC