Robredo: If we can’t unify personalities, then we’ll unite the people
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday appeared to be no longer interested in unifying personalities – those who have declared their candidacy for the presidency – saying she would instead build the broadest coalition possible with the Filipino people.
Robredo, who was invited to the Rotary Club of Manila’s virtual membership meeting, said that the goal of unifying the opposition has not changed. However, it may no longer involve other candidates for the presidency.
“My personal take on this is now, more than ever, we really need to put our people’s welfare first before politics. We have been pushing for inclusivity, and we have already started doing this after I filed by reaching out and talking to those who are not members of the party, from the start our goal has always been to forge the broadest unity possible,” Robredo said.
“So if unity was not possible among the presidential contenders, I have not given up on unifying our people,” she added.
Prior to these statements, Robredo was urged to strike a deal with other supposed opposition stalwarts like Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and Senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson. However, the Vice President admitted that they disagreed on crucial matters that caused the talks to fail.
Robredo explained that her decision to launch her own candidacy, after months of indecision on whether she should run for president, shows that she has already abandoned efforts to unify personalities.
These non-negotiable issues forced her to decide not to seek a local position, which she originally intended to do.
“In those conversations, there was an acceptance that a lot of my non-negotiables would not be answered. Of course, I cannot reveal the details of all the discussions, but while unification was a very important objective of all those talks, there was a limit to what we can unify behind,” Robredo said.
“When I decided to run for the presidency, it was my signal to move already from all attempts to unify the personalities and the parties, but one of the things — I’m sure you have heard of it already — that I decided to run as an independent. My decision to run as an independent was really to send an important message that we are open to those who want to join our cause,” she added.
Robredo spoke with Moreno, Pacquiao and Lacson before announcing her candidacy to build a solid opposition force to challenge President Rodrigo Duterte.
But after each filed a certificate of candidacy, the talks ended.
On one occasion, Robredo admitted that aside from the key differences, Moreno’s apparent inclination towards the Marcoses influenced her decision to run.
Robredo, in the past, maintained that she has two considerations before making a decision: that the opposition can stop the Marcoses from returning to power and prevent a Duterte-style of governance for the next six years.
Moreno criticized Robredo for her remarks, questioning why she was running only to block the Marcoses. On Wednesday, the Manila mayor clarified that his vision of progress would not mean forgetting the sins of past officials.
Robredo has been urged to unite with the said candidates by several personalities, including former Liberal Party member and Caloocan 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice, who expressed fears that a lack of unity between the Vice President and Moreno might give way to a Marcos presidency in 2022.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.