Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she is willing to lead the opposition against the camp of President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2019 mid-term elections.
“There have been initiatives by some groups to unite, and they have asked me if I can lead,” she told reporters. “So I told them yes but we need to talk about the terms.”
Among the terms that have yet to be settled is the completion of a unified slate before the filing of certificates for candidacy begins in the first week of October.
A united opposition stands a better chance of being heard, she said.
“We unite to have one voice. It would be difficult if all of us are talking out loud. It would be hard if we all talk at the same time,” she said.
The Palace said Robredo’s bid to unite the opposition was hardly surprising since she is the highest elected member of the opposition.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said he hoped the opposition under Robredo would promote a high level of conversation and provide alternative solutions to the country’s longstanding problems.
“The Palace believes that an active opposition has a vital role to play in a healthy, well-functioning democracy,” Roque said.
“Having said this, we expect that the opposition movement would not only promote responsible and constructive debate to push the national conversation to a higher level of political maturity but also present to our people a viable alternative platform of government to address the longstanding problems of the nation,” he said.
President Duterte appointed Robredo as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council in July 2016 but she stepped down six months later over “irreconcilable differences.”
Members of the left-leaning Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, who used to support Duterte, rallied behind Robredo.
Party-list Representatives Antonio Tinio, France Castro of ACT Teachers Party-list, and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela said they will support Robredo.
“It is a positive development,” Tinio said. “We in the Makabayan bloc are ready to unite with and help everyone who is ready to fight against the establishment of a dictatorship of President Duterte.”
Castro said her group will support Robredo all the way in the same manner it is fighting the government’s “anti-poor” policies, including its war on drugs, its tax reform program and Charter change.
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