LP exec tells opposition: Unite, support one bet or Duterte may reign again

(FILE PHOTO) Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan. (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan on Thursday backed Vice President Leni Robredo with her view that the opposition should only have one presidential candidate for the 2022 elections.

“I agree with the Vice President that we need to unite behind one candidate and the Vice President said it doesn’t necessarily mean that that candidate will be her,” Pangilinan said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.

“The reason behind why we have to have one candidate is because we want to win. If we split the votes then it will be Duterte and his administration all over again and for us, in the opposition, we believe that the COVID response has been less than ideal, corruption continues to be a challenge…These are all concerns,” he added.

Further, Pangilinan pointed to the administration’s brutal drug war, which has earned widespread criticisms locally and internationally.

“The drug war after five years of the drug war, where are we?” the senator asked.

Robredo is being considered as the standard-bearer of the opposition under election coalition 1Sambayan led by former Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

The Vice President, however, has yet to make final her plans for the 2022 polls but said she remains “open” to run for president.

Asked what would make Robredo join the presidential race in 2022, Pangilinan said it would be a “combination of many things.” He did not elaborate.

“We’ve discussed this with the Vice President, I trust her instincts. She has been in politics, not as a candidate, but as wife of Mayor Jesse for over two decades. I trust her political sense in this regard,” the senator said.

“She became a congressman. She’s been Vice President for the last five years and for those who know how she’s been working I’m sure many will agree that she’s been doing the right moves in the last several years,” he added.

Pangilinan further stressed the need to “unite with the broadest coalition possible.”

“If we are to unite, we have to unite with the broadest coalition possible to succeed in terms of being able to be a force, an effective force for what we believe to be better, so that’s the challenge,” the senator said.

“Kinakailangan magkaisa tayo sa isang kandidato and that requires really embracing those who we have differences with in terms of advocacies and campaigning and political advocacies so that broader coalition of various political forces who have differences are coming together and I hope that we can do that sooner rather than later,” he added.