MANILA - The Marcos-Duterte tandem is a "very formidable force," which is why the Makabayan bloc decided to support the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
The senatorial candidate said there are also commonalities in the opposition tandem's platform and that of Bayan Muna's.
Colmenares also believes the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem is in the "best position" to defeat the tandem of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
"More importantly for Makabayan, we believe that the vice president and Senator Kiko are in the best position to defeat the Marcos-Duterte tandem, which is very important for us, by the way for Makabayan, because we do not want an extension of the Marcos and Duterte dynasty in Malacañang," he said.
Colmenares said it took a while for the Makabayan bloc to decide on who to support because they had to discuss with several sectors first, including Robredo supporters, as well as anti-Duterte and anti-Marcos forces.
"Surveys are very important factors for consideration. It's not the only factor, it's not a decisive factor, but it's a big factor. Yes, I think we also considered that," he added.
Colmenares said the Makabayan bloc traditionally delivers between 3 to 3.5 million votes, and they would want to sway their supporters to vote for Robredo and Pangilinan in order to have a better chance of defeating Marcos and Duterte-Carpio.
"If (Bongbong) Marcos wins by 1 million votes and our 3 to 3.5 million (votes) were not given to the candidates who have the most likely chance of winning over the Marcos-Duterte tandem, parang kumuha kami ng bato at pinukpok sa sarili namin. I don't think we can forgive ourselves if Marcos wins by a million votes and we didn't go for the candidate who could have defeated him," he said.
Colmenares likewise said the Makabayan bloc has already resolved its issues with Robredo, reiterating that the upcoming national elections is very important.
"This is a very important election. This is different from any previous elections. This time around, the Marcos dynasty is knocking on the doors of Malacañang. We really need to make sure they are defeated, and only a solid and unified opposition vote can deliver the vote for the defeat of the Marcos-Duterte tandem."
"They're a very formidable force, and in any way, we cannot win easily if we are not united and solid behind the vice president," Colmenares added.
The Makabayan bloc on Friday declared its support for Robredo and Pangilinan during the the opposition coalition 1Sambayan’s virtual launch of its senatorial lineup and campaign kick-off.
Colmenares said the unified position of Makabayan was based on various issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic response, the plight of marginalized sectors, environment, human rights, sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.
Colmenares also thanked Partido Lakas ng Masa presidential aspirant Leody De Guzman for still supporting his and Elmer "Bong" Labog's candidacy even after they expressed their support for Robredo and Pangilinan.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Ka Leody because despite the fact that we chose Vice President Leni, he publicly announced that he will continue to support me and Elmer "Bong" Labog's candidacy in the Senate," he said.
De Guzman earlier said he respects the decision of the Makabayan, and will continue to support Colmenares and Labog.