Drilon backs Robredo talks with Lacson, Gordon
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday backed Vice President Leni Robredo in having talks with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon on the possibility of joining ranks to put up a unified candidate for the opposition.
He said it was not a fair assessment that Robredo has given up on her possible presidential run, and has decided to yield to politicians previously identified with the Duterte administration.
“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,” he said.
Drilon defended Robredo from criticisms mainly from her opposition ally, former Sen. Sonny Trillanes IV, who vented out his dismay that the Vice President sat with the likes of Lacson, Gordon and former Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. purportedly to discuss possible alliances in the next presidential polls.
‘A united ticket’
“VP Leni, I hope this [report] is not true. But if it is, then I’m sorry but the Magdalo Group would not join you and [the Liberal Party] if you would give way to Senator Lacson,” Trillanes said in a tweet, referring to Robredo’s meeting with Lacson.
Trillanes later explained that he took his frustrations to social media as Robredo had supposedly declined invitations to a meeting with opposition groups, believing that it would be a “sin” to talk about politics and the 2022 elections amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Drilon said he did not find anything wrong with discussing possible alliances with other personalities and groups, even if they used to be identified with the Duterte administration.
“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,” he said.
“At this stage, I don’t think we should already exclude certain politicians and not pursue a united ticket,” the minority leader added.
The opposition needs to set up a “bigger base” so that it can present itself as a better alternative to the electorate, Drilon said.
Better chance of winning
“To me, the objective No. 1 is to make sure that those who are not with the administration, the opposition, must have a unified front in 2022. It is difficult enough to present yourself as an alternative to this administration if you are not united,” he said.
According to Drilon, Lacson and Gordon have “done their share in maintaining their principles.”
He gave assurance that Robredo has not given up on her bid to be the opposition’s unified candidate against President Duterte’s anointed successor in 2022.
“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,” he said.
He dismissed insinuations that Robredo is not keen on pursuing plans for the presidency, and is instead eyeing the governorship of Camarines Sur, because of poor showing in recent popularity surveys.
With about 6 to 8 percent in the surveys, the Vice President now has a better chance of winning than where she was before the 2016 elections, Drilon said.
“If she won with one percent at that time, she has a better chance with 6 to 8 percent today. It is a question of her being able to decide as soon as possible,” he said. INQ
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