Vice President Leni Robredo said she will be a unifying force for the opposition even if she decides not to run for president in the May 2022 polls.
She believes that a united opposition is essential to electoral civtory.
Speaking in Radyo’s Katipunan “All Kaps! Ateneo Level Up!” program, Robredo expressed approval over 1Sambayan’s plan to field a single opposition standard-bearer to challenge President Durterte’s anointed candidate next year.
1Sambayan is a new political coalition formed by retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Carpio, who said only a united opposition could defeat the authoritarian forces of the Duterte regime.
The group had initial talks with possible candidates for president and vice president that included Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
“Kailangan iyong focus natin ngayon, magkaisa. Mag-agree tayo na mag-unite tayo under one common candidate, na iyon iyong magra-rally behind tayo sa kaniya. Iyong candidate na iyon, dapat iyon iyong makaka-unify sa lahat na forces—whether ako iyan, whether iba iyan. Kahit iba, dapat 100 percent na pagtulungan natin (What we need to focus right now is to unite. We would agree to unite under one common candidate, whom we would rally behind. That person should be the one to unify all forces—whether that’s me or others. Even it is another person, let us work on it 100 percent),” she said.
“Hindi ako, agree doon sa mga nagsasabi na, ‘Kung hindi si VP, hindi na lang.’ Kasi hindi natin mahal iyong bayan kapag ganiyan (I don’t agree to others saying that ‘If it’s not VP, never mind.’ Because we do not love the country if we think like that),” Robredo added.
The oppostion leader said that “I think all of us should work towards that end (unity)” because if not, “baka ang resulta nito (the result might be), another six years of this kind of governance.”
“Kayanin pa kaya natin? (Can we still take it?)” she asked.
Even if she does not become the opposition’s candidate next year, the vice president said she is ready to do the work to unite everyone.
Robredo lamented that “others are missing the point” on why it’s taking her so long to decide whether to run as president or not.
She likened it to the primaries in the United States where the Democratic Party eventually decided to field now-President Joseph Biden against former President Donald Trump.
Robredo said Biden was not initially the frontrunner in the Democratic Party’s primaries, a process where it will choose its standard-bearer, but the party decided that he had the best chance of defeating then President Donald Trump.
“Siguro kung hindi ganito iyong admin, mas simple sana (If the admin is not like this, it will be simpler),” Robredo, who has been subjected to bashing, fake news, and malicious accusations both from the administration and its supporters, explained.
The vice president remains open to the idea of running against whoever the present administration will field, but she still has doubts whether she is the ideal candidate who could potentially unite the country while leading the opposition.
Robredo balked at the idea that she was simply delaying her inevitable candidacy so her detractors won’t have much time to throw black propaganda at her.
“Ano pa ba naman iyong isisira sa akin? Lahat na klaseng paninira, ginawa na. So sa akin, iyong paninira, hindi iyon. Para sa akin, hindi iyon iyong consideration, kasi lahat ginawa na nila sa akin eh (What kind of defamation can they still do to me? They’ve done all kind of attacks. For me, it’s not the defamation, it’s not that. For me, that’s not the consideration because they’ve done everything to me),” she said.
Members of the 1Sambayan coalition suggested that the vice president use the Holy Week to think about her political plans for next year.