Robredo shares stage with Colmenares in Mindanao sortie

ILIGAN CITY — For the first time since the Makabayan bloc endorsed her candidacy, Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, Feb. 22, introduced and shared the stage with former Bayan Muna Rep. and 1Sambayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares.

Senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares takes a photo of Vice President Leni Robredo and her supporters during the campaign rally held at Rizal Park in Iligan City on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (VPLR Media Bureau)

“Nandito din po (Also here is) 1Sambayan senatorial bet, Congressman Neri Colmenares,” Robredo announced to an eruption of cheers from pink-clad supporters here at Rizal Park where she, Colmenares, and lawyer Alex Lacson attended a campaign sortie.

The road wasn’t easy for Robredo and the Makabayan bloc to see eye-to-eye with former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch supporter of the Vice President, earlier calling out the progressive groups for considering to endorse Manila Mayor Isko Moreno instead.

But in late January, Colmenares made the announcement that the group is endorsing Robredo and her running mate, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. He promised to deliver three million votes for them.

A human rights lawyer and a political detainee during the Martial Law, Colmenares aid he doesn’t mind waiting for Robredo to finally recognize him on stage.

He was also at the Pink Sunday rally at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Feb. 13, but he wasn’t able to share the stage with Robredo and the rest of her senatorial slate.

“I don't mind waiting. As I said before, I am there to support VP Leni and make sure Marcos is defeated,” he said.

Officially, he is not a part of the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket but opposition coalition 1Sambayan, which endorsed the tandem and Colmenares, is a strong link between the two parties. Colmenares is the only senatorial bet of the Makabayan bloc.

READ: 1Sambayan coalition backs 8 senatorial bets

During the campaign rally, the former lawmaker addressed the crowd and took a swipe at Robredo’s rival, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong Marcos Jr., the namesake of the man he said is responsible for torturing him while in prison.

“Sigurado (Surely) the campaign of Bongbong Marcos is weak because any campaign that is based on lies and fake news is a weak campaign,” Colmenares told the crowd.

He assured the cheering supporters that Robredo and Pangilinan will win if they will be united.

Robredo was without Pangilinan, who was with wife Sharon Cuneta in Tarlac to campaign, as she goes around Northern Mindanao to woo voters.

“’Yung iba po hindi natin kasama pero 'yung mga groups na nagsu-support sa kanila nandiyan (We don’t have the others with us but the groups supporting them are there),” she said as she mentioned the volunteer groups of her senatorial slate.

“Hihingi po kami ng inyong tulong pero hindi lang po 'yung tulong na kami ay botohan sa eleksyon pero 'yung tulong na samahan niyo po kami sa laban na ito (We are asking for help not only to vote for us in the elections but for you to be with us in this fight),” Robredo added.