Sotto on Robredo's rejection of unification proposal: 'They have something else in mind'

Published August 9, 2021, 11:39 AM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Monday, August 9, said he, too, respects Vice President Leni Robredo’s rejection of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s proposal to unify the opposition for the 2022 elections, even as he believed that the vice president should not have shot it down right away.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III (Senate PRIB)

“It’s her opinion. Ping’s offer was sincere and selfless,” Sotto said in a text message to reporters when asked for his comment.

Lacson earlier bared that Robredo resisted his “sure unification formula” for a single slate against administration bets in next year’s polls, which include fielding Sotto as their common vice presidential candidate.

On Sunday, August 8, Robredo explained that she cannot agree with the senator’s proposal that all opposition candidates file their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) in October and later withdraw in support of the “best contender based on numbers”.

“Once I have filed [my COC], I cannot withdraw even though it’s hard because I already presented myself to the public,” Robredo said in Filipino.

But Sotto said Robredo should have studied first Lacson’s proposition, instead of rejecting it immediately.

“She was not supposed to reject right away and study first the possibilities. Outright rejection meant they had something else in mind at the outset,” the Senate president said.

Still, he said he was not disappointed with the Vice Pesident’s decision, but rather her supporters “na mahina ang entindimiento (who have poor understanding).”

On Twitter, he clarified that Robredo’s camp was the one who approached him and Lacson about the possibility of uniting “behind one candidate/one ticket” in 2022.

He also denied that they urged Robredo to withdraw her possible candidacy for presidency.

“Imbento!” he said of Robredo’s supporters.

Lacson and Sotto and Sotto have confirmed that they will run in tandem for president and vice president, respectively, in 2022. They are set to officially announce their election bid on September 8.

Is the Lacson-Sotto tandem still open to joining the opposition’s united slate?

“We are already in neck deep in our quest. In my opinion, and it does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Sen. Ping, we will approach and seek the people’s trust on our own,” Sotto told the Manila Bulletin in a separate text message.