Pangilinan: Focus on voter registration, not on probable election candidates

Published May 15, 2021, 4:44 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The focus should first be on encouraging Filipinos to register and vote, and not yet on the personalities who might seek elective posts in the 2022 polls.

Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines)

This was Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s position when asked about former senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV’s possible bid for presidency in next year’s national and local elections.

“We’ll know soon enough by October kung sino ang mga tatakbo talaga (who will really run). But for now, the focus should be on encouraging more people to register to vote,” Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), said in his May 15 statement about Trillanes’ announcement last Wednesday, May 12.

Pangilinan said he prefers to just “wait and see” as to who the opposition will field as candidates for the presidential, vice-presidential, and senatorial races.

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo earlier denied Trillanes’ disclosure that she is already preparing to run for governor of Camarines Sur province in Bicol.

This was the ex-senator’s reason for making official his plan to seek the nomination as the opposition’s standard bearer, as he previously said that he will pursue presidency should Robredo decide not to.

Robredo has yet to make a decision about the 2022 elections, and that she still focuses on helping people amid the COVID-19, said the Vice President’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez.

“Wala pa naman ang desisyon kaya abangan (There is no decision yet so we should just wait),” Pangilinan said of Robredo, who is the LP’s chairperson.

In his appeal, the senator cited pronouncements from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that around 2.8 million new voter applicants have already registered for next year’s elections. The Comelec earlier announced a goal of four million new voters for 2022.

“By Comelec’s target, at least 1.2 million new voters still need to register. That’s around 12,300 new registrants every day until the deadline, excluding weekends and holidays,” Pangilinan said.

“This is all the more reason we should ramp up our COVID[-19] response to test, trace, isolate. And hasten vaccine roll-outs so we can ensure that our citizens is one, safer from the pandemic and two, able to exercise their democratic rights. The 2022 elections, after all, will elect leaders who will see us through post-pandemic recovery,” he noted.

The Comelec will resume voters’ registration in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus bubble on Monday, May 17. Registrations will end on September 30.