As the 2022 national and local elections draw near, retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio…
Opposition coalition 1SAMBAYAN on Thursday endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo as its presidential candidate in the 2022 elections after an "overwhelming majority" of the group’s 24 convenors chose her among other possible nominees.
1Sambayan Chairman and retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, who announced the development in a press conference, said that they had informed Robredo, who was in Bicol, about the coalition’s decision and were waiting for her response.
"We hope that she will accept the challenge… and give her decision very soon,” he said, adding that the possibility of Robredo rejecting the offer was “remote” because the vice president “already said that she is willing to save the country from plunder, from dictatorship." (See Reject ‘Duterte-like’ candidates in 2022 polls - Carpio)
Robredo, who is a member of the Liberal Party, topped 1SAMBAYAN’s internal survey of possible candidates for the country’s highest public office after “rigorous consultation” with its local and foreign chapters and partners with over 3 million members. Carpio said the vice president best fulfilled the group’s criteria of integrity, competence, track record, patriotism, vision for country, and winnability.
In a press release shortly after 1SAMBAYAN’s declaration, Robredo did not give a categorical response to the offer.
“Mabigat ang hinihiling sa isang pangulo. Maraming responsibilidad at obligasyon ang dala nito, buhay at kinabukasan ng Pilipino ang nakataya,” she stressed. “Ang desisyon sa pagtakbo, hindi pwedeng naka-base sa ambisyon, o sa pag-udyok ng iba.”
(A lot is demanded from a president. A lot of responsibilities and obligations come with the position, the life and future of Filipinos are at stake. The decision to run must not be based on ambition, or on the prodding of others.)
The Vice President then appealed for prayers. “Sa mga susunod na araw, samahan ninyo akong magdasal pa, that our decision will be what is best for the country,” she said.
(In the coming days, please pray with me that our decision will be what is best for the country.)
Former senator Antonio Trillanes topped 1SAMBAYAN’s survey results for possible choices for vice president and also made it to the list of those that could be included in its senatorial slate.
Aside from Carpio, 1SAMBAYAN convenors include former government officials such as retired Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, former education secretary Bro. Armin Luistro, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, and former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Rosales, among others.
Carpio said that leaders of the coalition would meet with Robredo immediately after she accepts 1SAMBAYAN’s nomination. She would be given the right to choose her running mate and the composition of her senatorial ticket in consultation with 1SAMBAYAN convenors which should be firmed up in time for the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) on Oct.1 to 8 or by the deadline for the substitution of candidates in November.
If the Vice President rejects the offer, 1SAMBAYAN would reconvene to decide on its next moves, he said.
Carpio explained that talks to unite the political opposition would continue, expressing hope that those who previously committed to support 1SAMBAYAN’s choice of candidate for president, like Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, would keep their word so as not to split the opposition vote.
“Well, we live in a democracy so we really cannot prevent anyone from running for president. All we can do is to persuade because we are a very big coalition and show them that we have a big group that's supporting one candidate,” he said.
Both Pacquiao and Moreno have announced their presidential bid Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and Aksyon Demokratiko Party, respectively.
“Maybe you can reconsider because if you run, you will probably be getting votes away from our candidate (Robredo),” Carpio appealed.
1SAMBAYAN earlier floated the names of Pacquiao, Moreno, Trillanes, and Sen. Nancy Binay as potential presidential nominees. According to reports, the coalition met with some of these politicians, including Robredo, asking that they “set aside their personal interests” to form a united opposition.