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Robredo still hoping for united opposition

/ 05:00 AM January 24, 2022

Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo still hopes for a united opposition even as she admitted her frustration over her failure to unify their camp under one popular candidate.

“I was frustrated,” Robredo said during “The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews,” aired on GMA Network on Saturday night, which featured the leading presidential candidates in one-on-one interviews.

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But the presidential aspirant explained why unification among other presidential bets would be difficult at this point, saying that she and other contenders are now “invested” in their respective campaigns.

Robredo, who is running as an independent candidate, remains chair of the Liberal Party.

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‘Missed opportunity’

Jessica Soho, however, noted that throughout the history of Philippine elections, not a single independent candidate has emerged victorious. But Robredo believes there is always a first time for everything.

Should she win this year, Robredo is hoping for a mechanism that would “give voice to everyone even if you don’t align yourself to them,” which she described was “missed” after the 2016 elections.

“For me, this was the missed opportunity after 2016, that after the campaign, those who were seated should have extended a hand to make sure there would be unity regardless of your political affiliation,” she said.

Leni Robredo

While his opponents played it safe when asked to describe President Rodrigo Duterte with one word, Sen. Panfilo Lacson stunned television and online audiences on Saturday with his pithy response: “Sayang (disappointing).”

At one point during the three-hour GMA7 interview, broadcast journalist Jessica Soho flashed a photo of the President on the screen and asked the candidates to say the first word that came to mind.

Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso gave the most positive answer with “leader.”

Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Robredo opted for the literal, with the former saying “pangulo (President),” and the latter saying “President of the Philippines.”

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Only Lacson’s reply had a negative connotation.

Asked by the Inquirer to elaborate on his answer, the senator and former national police chief said Duterte was a disappointment “because he continues to have a very strong mandate from the Filipino people.”

Lacson added that it was a shame because Duterte’s fight against corruption in government “could have attained unprecedented strides with a supportive citizenry if he set and followed only one standard in running after the crooks in government, regardless of friendship and close association.”

Manny Pacquiao

“[With] his sincerity to end the systemic corruption in the bureaucracy, coupled with an unprecedented mandate from the Filipino people, he could have done much better for our country,” he told the Inquirer.

Marcos a no-show

GMA7 invited only five of the leading candidates to the Soho interview.

But the late dictator’s son and namesake, former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was a no-show as his camp accused the network of anti-Marcos bias, an accusation strongly denied by GMA7.

Isko Moreno

Besides their opinion of Duterte, the presidential aspirants also gave prospective voters a glimpse of what they thought of other burning issues.

On Kian Delos Santos, the boy killed during the drug war, Lacson described his photo as “hustisya (justice),” Domagoso said “panagutan (hold them accountable),” Pacquiao said “kawawa (pitiful),” while Robredo said “nakakadurog (heartbreaking).”

On Typhoon “Odette”-hit Siargao, Domagoso replied “bilis kilos (fast action),” Pacquiao and Lacson both replied kawawa (pitiful), while Robredo replied “devastation.”

On the Philippine flag, Pacquiao described it as the “bandila ng Pilipinas (Philippine flag);” Robredo said “pagka-Pilipino (Filipino identity);” Lacson said “igalang (respect);” and Domagoso said “mahal ko (my love).” INQ

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TAGS: Elections, Jessica Soho, robredo, The Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews
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