‘Fight continues’ in barangay, midterm polls, say Robredo, Pangilinan
Taking lessons from their defeat last year, the country’s two most prominent opposition figures have vowed to continue the fight and regain lost ground in the upcoming barangay polls in October and the midterm elections in 2025.
Exactly a year after the May 9, 2022, elections, former Vice President Leni Robredo and her then running mate, former Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, assured their supporters on Tuesday that the opposition was in a “much better place than [in] previous elections.”
“The fight does not end there, because we did not fight for a mere post, but for something we believed in… and even despite the loss, we still believed in that idea,” Robredo said.
While “it’s hard to fight for good governance,” she urged the youth to turn up in the upcoming barangay and midterm elections “the same way you turned up in the 2022 elections.”
“History does not end; the fight continues,” Robredo said, adding: “We can never quit.”
The country’s former No. 2 official made the remarks at the launch of her coffee table book, “Tayo Ang Liwanag (we are the light),” which was meant to memorialize her “Peoples’ Campaign.”
She dedicated the book to the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who had flocked to her rallies as she waged an underdog campaign to win the presidency and thwart the return of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his family to Malacañang.
But she lost to the late dictator’s son and namesake by a margin of more than 16 million votes.
On Tuesday, Robredo chose not to dwell on her electoral defeat.
“While we did not win in the elections, we achieved so much more than what we had ever imagined,” she said.
Pangilinan, who has now gone full time in his agricultural advocacy work, echoed Robredo’s fighting words: “We are not truly not done yet,” he said.
No luxury of time
“When we are committed to social transformation, there is no such thing as failure, only delay,” Pangilinan said.
Even now, he said, opposition forces were already preparing for the barangay and midterm elections—unlike in the past when they were criticized for waiting until the last minute to seek and generate public support.
“This one year went by so fast, and the next several years will happen very fast, too. We don’t have the luxury of time,” Pangilinan said.
“One day, the day will come when the fire in our hearts will blaze across the country,” he said.
Both Robredo, who was the Liberal Party (LP) chair but ran as an independent during the elections, and Pangilinan, the former LP president, along with Sen. Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan Party, are seen by many as the faces of the political opposition.
Shortly before she stepped down from the vice presidency last year, Robredo said she was handing over to Hontiveros the task of leading the movement, as the only opposition candidate to be elected to a national post.
At present, Robredo and Pangilinan have gone full time into their respective advocacy work.
The former vice president is managing her foundation Angat Pinas—taking off from the flagship program of her previous office—which she had envisioned to be the country’s largest volunteer group.
She quit the chairmanship of the Liberal Party in June to work on the foundation and to go on the lecture circuit in the United States as a Harvard Kaiser fellow.
Pangilinan, meanwhile, said he was doing national tours promoting agricultural policies and possible areas of reform.
In her previous speeches both during and after the campaign, Robredo expressed regret about deciding to run for the presidency only at the eleventh hour.
However, she said she remained open to working again for the government.