VP Leni's office surprised by Trillanes' announcement of 2022 presidential bid

Published May 13, 2021, 5:55 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The “surprise” announcement of former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV to run for president in the 2022 elections gave an unfortunate impression that Vice President Leni Robredo has already abandoned any intention to seek the highest post of the land, Barry Gutierrez, spokesman for the Office of the Vice President said Thursday.

VP Leni Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez (OVP photo)

In an interview over ANC, Gutierrez said it came to him as a surprise, knowing that Trillanes has been their ally with whom they are periodically communicating over the course of the past few years

“So it was a bit of a surprise to see him come out to say that the Vice President was already preparing to run for governor of Camarines Sur—which gave a lot of people maybe the unfortunate impression that she has already abandoned any intentions to seek the presidency in 2022, which is far from the truth,” Gutierrez said.

While he did not deny that the Vice President has been considering a run for a local office ever since discussions on 2022 have started heating up, Gutierrez, however, stressed that there have been “no preparations insofar as pursuing an actual run at a local level is concerned”.

As for the Liberal Party of which the Vice President is now the current chair, he said there are already preparations being made by volunteers, supporters, by local chapters for a possible presidential run in 2022.

“And obviously, the preferred candidate for such a run would be the Vice President. She is the chairperson of the Liberal Party, she is the leader of the opposition, and she is obviously the person who embodies most what we feel should be embodied by the person who will be president of this country,” the spokesman said.

Gutierrez stressed that Vice President Robredo has demonstrated her ability to be an executive during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic that will make her a “great president”.

“So that’s still very much the default position that we are pursuing at this stage,” he said.

On the former lawmaker’s assertion that Robredo has already registered as a voter in Camarines Sur, Gutierrez maintained that the Vice President is still a registered voter of Naga and has not made any move to transfer her registration from Naga City to any other place.

Another thing that surprised him, according to Gutierrez, is that Trillanes did not even bother to reach out to the Vice President prior to making his announcement.

“And as I said before, you know, we have been talking to him in the past. You know, we are allies. We are on the same side on a lot of issues. So, you know, all these would have been resolved by directly asking the Vice President, ‘Are you running for governor?’ and he would have a very clear answer,” Gutierrez said.