Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday, July 28, warned that he and his Magdalo Party group will leave the alliance formed with the opposition if Vice President Leni Robredo gives way for Senator Panfilo Lacson in her possible presidential bid next year.
The former senator said this after Lacson and Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez confirmed the meeting held last week between the two officials.
“VP Leni, I hope this is not true. Pero kung totoo ito, pasensya na po pero (But if this is true, we’re sorry but) the Magdalo Group would not join you and LP (Liberal Party) kung mag give way kayo para kay(if you will give way for) Sen. Lacson,” Trillanes posted on his social media accounts.
He also posted a screenshot of the report wherein Lacson said he and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III met with Robredo , the LP’s chairman, and former Senator Bam Aquino.
Lacson did not divulge what they spoke about during the meeting.
Trillanes, however, did not take this meeting in stride. “May I remind you also na si Sen. Lacson ay isa sa nagtulak sa (that Sen. Lacson was one of those who pushed for the) unjust imprisonment of your partymate, Sen. De Lima.”
De Lima, Robredo’s partymate at the Liberal Party, is detained at the Camp Crame for allegedly trumped-up drug charges. She is a staunch critic of President Duterte and at one point, investigated his supposed crimes in Davao City where he was mayor for decades before becoming Chief Executive.
In 2016, both Lacson and Sotto supported the charges against De Lima with the former saying that the House probe into the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary during her time as Justice secretary brought credible evidence enough to issue a warrant of arrest.
Robredo has been supportive of De Lima while she is in detention. De Lima recently announced she will seek reelection as a senator.
But Gutierrez said that Trillanes’ remarks on Robredo giving way to Lacson were “extremely premature” because “VP Leni has not yet made a definitive announcement regarding her candidacy for President.”
“What she has said before stands: she remains open to running for President, and will announce her decision at the appropriate time,” he added.
Earlier, Gutierrez said that the meeting with Lacson and Sotto was part of the vice president’s “commitment to forge the broadest possible unity among groups and individuals seeking change in 2022.”
Despite not having made her decision yet to run as president in 2022, Robredo said she wants to be instrumental in uniting the opposition because they believe it is the best way to win against the administration’s candidates next year.
Trillanes has repeatedly said that he will only forego his plan to run as president if Robredo will seek the country’s highest post.