Vice President Leni Robredo said that her camp will choose from four to five nominees to complete their 12-man senatorial slate for the May 2022 elections.
Among those being considered for inclusion are former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Federation of Free Workers (FFW) President Sonny Matula.
The Vice President said during a media briefing on Friday, Oct. 15, that her senatorial picks were not her choice alone, but the choice of many groups she has talked with over the past weeks.
“Iyong number 12, iyong gusto sana namin (We want the number 12 to be) who will best represent the marginalized sectors. We have a number of nominees already, pero gusto kasi namin— Hindi ito desisyon ko lang (but we want—This is not my decision alone),” she added.
“Marami kaming (We have many) alliances with many different groups—urban poor, women, labor, iba’t iba—at pinapakinggan namin (and others—and we’re listening to all of them),” Robredo explained.
The presidential aspirant says that the kind of leadership she espouses is one where people can voice out their opinions and concerns. Before she finalized her senatorial slate, she “ran it by” with the other groups supporting her candidacy.
The past week, Robredo was seen in screenshots of Zoom meetings with various groups from LGBTQIA+, women, urban poor, and labor sectors, among others.
Her nomination of certain names such as members of the Senate majority—Senators Richard Gordon, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Joel Villanueva—raised some eyebrows since the Vice President has become the de facto leader of the opposition.
She admitted that inviting people to join her was not easy, but she thanked Liberal Party (LP) stalwart Franklin Drilon for inviting and vetting the Senate bets, as well as helping her come up with the best mix of people.
Although she is running as an independent, Robredo is still the chairperson of the once-ruling LP.
Before the official announcement of her senatorial candidates, her camp revealed that she reached out to Colmenares and Matula. But many were surprised Friday after either of them wasn’t announced part of the slate.
Robredo said they are still in talks with the two progressive leaders, but maintained that there’s a process they have to follow.
“Proseso sa pakikinig sa iba’t ibang grupo. Siyempre kung may mga concerns na inihahain sa amin, kailangan naming pakinggan iyong concerns na inihahain. Binibigyan ng pagkakataon iyong mga concerned na mga tao na sagutin iyong mga concerns na iyon (There’s a process of listening to different groups. Of course, if they have concerns about who we presented, we have to hear their concerns. We are giving the concerned people a chance to answer those concerns),” she added.
Aside from Gordon, Zubiri, and Villanueva, Robredo’s team will be composed of veterans in politics such as former Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Sorsogon Governor and former Senator Chiz Escudero, and re-electionists Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima.
Only lawyers Chel Diokno and Alex Lacson are newcomers.