Robredo reveals partial senatorial slate for 2022, ‘unified’ opposition slate still in the making

Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo revealed Friday the names of 11 candidates on her senatorial ticket for the 2022 national elections where she is vying for the highest public office in the country.

Robredo made the announcement in an online press conference with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, her vice presidential running mate. Robredo, who is running as an independent, is chairman of the Liberal Party where Pangilinan is president, but their senatorial slate is a mix of lawyers as well as current and former legislators and elected officials from various parties. (See Robredo running for president, vows to bring ‘power of change’ back in the hands of Filipinos)

The vice president said all 11 senatorial bets answered her call for a united opposition, while eight have served in Congress, except for Binay who was Makati's former mayor then vice president, and Diokno and Lacson, who ran for the Senate but lost in 2019 and 2010, respectively.

Marami sa kanila, kung hindi man hayagang kahanay ay tahimik na tumulong o nakipag ugnayan sa atin para punan ang mga pagkukulang at tumugon sa mga suliranin ng bansa, lalo na nitong panahon ng COVID,” she explained.

(A lot of them, if not explicitly our allies, were silently helping and coordinating with us to help address the country’s needs, especially this COVID[-19 pandemic].)

Trillanes in a statement expressed his gratitude for being included in Robredo’s senatorial slate.

Isang malaking karangalan na maisama sa senatorial slate ng ating next President Leni Robredo. Ako at ang grupong Magdalo ay nirerespeto ang resulta ng selection process na ito. Higit pa rito, nakatuon kami sa pagpapanalo ng ating next President Leni Robredo,” he said.

(It’s a great honor to be included in the senatorial slate of our next President Leni Robredo. The Magdalo group and I respect the result of her selection process. More than that, we are now focused on ensuring the victory of our next President Leni Robredo.)

Robredo said the 12th in the lineup is reserved for someone “who will best represent the marginalized sectors,” but mentioned former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula as possible choices among others she did not name.

Ayokong pangunahan kasi yung proseso ay tuloy-tuloy pa. Marami kaming alliances with different groups: urban poor, women, labor...iba’t-iba at pinapakinggan namin (sila),” she said, reminding her supporters that she will choose humane leaders who prioritize the interest of the people.

(I don’t want to jinx it because the process is ongoing. We have a broad alliance of different groups: urban poor, women, labor… It varies. And we’re listening to them.)

Ididiin ko ang ating pilosopiya: ang pagiging bukas, ang pagpapalawak ng hanay ayon sa prinsipyo at pangarap para sa bansa. Sa huli, lahat kami, sa taumbayang Pilipino lang mananagot,” the mother of three daughters said.

(I’ll stress our philosophy: being transparent, forming a broad coalition of allies according to our principles and vision for the country. In the end, we are all accountable only to the Filipino people.)

The last seat at the table

Progressive groups, who look to Robredo to unite the opposition, pushed for Colmenares, who is also a peoples’ lawyer.

“Vice President Robredo needs Atty. Colmenares more than some people in her slate that do not have any credibility to be called opposition, simply put,” said Fernando Hicap, chairperson of militan fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), in a statement.

In a tweet, however, Colmenares said it was Robredo’s “prerogative” to choose who to include in her senatorial ticket.

“My resolve to run for the Senate is based on the need to give the poor and marginalized a strong voice in the legislature,” explained Colmenares, who held a seat in Congress as Bayan Muna partylist’s representative from 2007 to 2016.

“We will employ our 3.5 million voter base, our national campaign machinery, our social media warriors, and poll watchers nationwide to push for the people’s agenda in the Senate and oppose the efforts of Duterte and Marcos to return to Malacañang,” he added.

Opposition coalition group 1SAMBAYAN said in a statement that they “unconditionally support” the Leni-Kiko ticket, but will soon announce the senatorial slate.

“We support VP Leni in her continued effort to seek unity among political parties,” the group said, as italso reminded the presidential aspirant to ensure that her senatorial ticket is composed of leaders with integrity, solid leadership, and an established track record as a public servant.

“Our objective to build a formidable slate representing the broadest possible coalition is almost complete. As the campaign nears ,we now prepare for a long battle ahead,” 1SAMBAYAN added.

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