Drilon: VP Leni not giving up on presidential bid, wants opposition to win in 2022

Published August 3, 2021, 1:47 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senate Minority Leader and Liberal Party vice chairman Franklin Drilon on Tuesday, August 3 rejected assumptions that Vice President Leni Robredo has given up a possible presidential bid in the upcoming May 2022 national elections.

Drilon reiterated that the Liberal Party’s objective is for the opposition candidate to win the 2022 elections by uniting “all the opposition” to create a broadest coalition possible and be able to present an alternative to the administration.

Because of this, Robredo, who is now the LP chairman, is still considering the possibility of running for the highest government post.

“That is not a fair assessment. That is not a correct assessment of the intention of the Vice President. At this point, the Vice President is still looking at a possible presidential run next year. But the first objective is to make sure that an opposition candidate wins,” Drilon said in an online press briefing.

“Therefore, step one is to unite everybody. If she becomes the most viable candidate, she will ask the others to come around and support her because the objective is to have a united front. So, the assessment that she has given up is totally wrong and baseless,” the minority leader stressed.

“The objective is to have the strongest candidate against the administration. That is why she has been conducting these meetings. Needless to state the effort to look for a strongest opposition candidate includes the Vice President. That assessment that she has given up is totally without basis and unfounded,” he reiterated.

Earlier, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV called out Robredo for supposedly “giving way” to Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s bid and warned that the Magdalo Group will not support an alliance with the former top cop.

Trillanes’ remark came after Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon confirmed they discussed the May 2022 elections together with Robredo in separate meetings. He also claimed that the vice president turned down his invitations to discuss their plans for next year’s polls.

Likewise, Drilon said he believes that Robredo has a better chance of winning in the presidential race now than when she ran in the 2016 elections.

“Remember that in 2015 when Leni Robredo became a vice presidential candidate, what support did she have in surveys? She was one (1) percent in the surveys. Let us not forget that,” Drilon pointed out.

“She decided to run for vice president with one percent and she beat (then senator) Bong Bong Marcos. Today, she has anywhere from 6 to 8 percent. She has a better chance today than she had in 2016. If she won with one percent at that time, she has a better chance with 6 to 8 percent today,” he explained.

“It is a question of her being able to decide as soon as possible. That is why, to me, at this point she should no longer entertain any local post that was mentioned before. It has not been repeated so I assume it is off the table. Insofar as the governorship of Camarines Sur is concerned, I don’t hear that is being considered,” said the LP stalwart.

However, he said, the primary goal of the Liberal Party, is to have a unified front in 2022. That is why, Drilon said, he doesn’t agree with Trillanes that they should not be talking with other prospective candidates.

“I think we should have a big tent wherein we can attract all sectors who believe that the next administration should not be identified with the present administration. Therefore, a broader coalition is necessary,” the Senate minority chief stressed.

“Maybe in another time or ideal situation, we should not talk to certain people. But I do not agree that at this time that is a good strategy. I do not agree that we should not talk to Sen. Lacson or Sen. Gordon. They have done their share in maintaining their principles,” he further said.