Robredo to let supporters pick 12th senator after Zubiri removal from slate
LUCENA CITY, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo was leaving the decision to her supporters to choose their 12th senator after her team dropped reelectionist Juan Miguel Zubiri from their slate.
Robredo in an ambush interview at Catanauan town in Quezon province on Thursday said there were several suggestions on who should replace Zubiri in the Leni-Kiko tandem’s senatorial ticker but because of time constraints, she would just let her supporters make their choice.
She also said she prefers to keep her focus on her presidential campaign at this point since there were only a little over 10 days left before Election Day (May 9).
Zubiri was removed from the Leni-Kiko tandem’s senatorial slate because he was supporting another presidential candidate.
“Actually maraming nagpu-push ng iba-ibang pangalan. ‘Yung kahapon na update sa akin, ang desisyon hindi na lalagyan ng kapalit. We’ll let the voters decide kung sino ‘yung idadagdag nilang kapalit kasi marami ‘yung nakapila na pagpipilian. Ang problema kasi natin ngayon oras,” she told reporters.
“Talagang wala nang oras. Ako basta sa akin, ang pakiusap ko sa kanila, kayo na ang mag-desisyon. Basta ako, all my waking hours, nasa kampanya na ako,” she added.
Robredo also revealed that she was not part of the decision to remove Zubiri from their slate.
“Actually hindi na ako kabahagi noong pag-desisyon. ‘Yung tinatanong ako about it, sabi ko sa kanila, kung papano natin dinesisyunan ‘yung dose (12), ganon din ‘yung pag-desisyon nung kung aalisin pa sa listahan, magdadagdag ba ng bago. ‘Yung team na ‘yung magde-decide,” she said.
“‘Yong sa akin, kung ano ‘yung desisyon ng team, will abide by it. Pero ako kasi ‘yung focus ko itong kampanya. Kasi 12 days na lang. So marami naman yung nag-uusap-usap, iba-iba naming partido ‘yung nandun, so kung ano ‘yung mapag-desisyunan, will honor,” she added.
On Wednesday, Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez confirmed that Zubiri was removed from the opposition senatorial ticket. In a statement, Gutierrez also implied that the Robredo team would no longer add a new candidate to the slate.
“Sen Migz Zubiri has been officially dropped from the Leni-Kiko Senate Slate. His open endorsement of another presidential candidate, in contravention of the agreement with all guest candidates, led to this decision,” Gutierrez said.
“With 12 days remaining before elections, we are moving forward with our 11-candidate Senate slate,” Gutierrez noted.
Gutierrez and Robredo did not mention who is the other candidate that Zubiri supported, but it is believed to be Bongbong Marcos, one of her rivals for the presidency in this year’s election. Robredo defeated Marcos in the 2016 vice presidential race.
Zubiri has been a fixture in the rally of Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Uniteam. The Zubiri family in Bukidnon had also endorsed Marcos’ candidacy.
Many Robredo supporters online have been calling for the removal of Zubiri from the slate for quite some time now. They also suggested that either Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares, labor leader Elmer Labog, lawyer Luke Espiritu, or former Makati congressman Monsour del Rosario replace Zubiri in the Leni-Kiko tandem’s line-up.
At the rally staged to celebrate Robredo’s birthday on April 23 in Pasay City, the crowd booed when Zubiri’s name and face was displayed on the stage screen.
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