The Liberal Party is open to informal talks with the newly formed 1Sambayan party but would rather focus first on the COVID-19 crisis, party president Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Friday.
At present, Pangilinan said the opposition party has no official stand yet on reports that some LP members, led by party chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo, are being considered as potential candidates in the 1Sambayanan coalition launched by retired Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio.
1Sambayanan is eyeing Robredo as its standard bearer in the 2022 national elections against the anointed candidates of the ruling PDP-Laban part of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Factions within PDP-Laban are hoping Duterte would run as their candidate for Vice President, with Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go or presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as their presidential candidate.
“Liberal Party has no official stand yet. We are open to informal talks, but I think in the end—and I’ve said this—given the rising cases of COVID, I would rather be focused first on how to overcome the current problem of the COVID management and the spread,” stressed Pangilinan.
He said the LP can talk politics “maybe two or three months or July or August” before the deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy.
Meanwhile, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said becoming a President is a destiny from God, in reacting to Sen. Panfilo Lacson revelation that the former champion boxer whispered to him that he wants to be president.
Pacquiao said many “have aspired for the presidency and many of them failed.” He wants the next President to have real concern and true love for the Filipinos.
“Let us stop political colors — no more yellow, no more orange, red or whatever is your color. Let us pity the Filipino people,” he added.
Pangilinan said he thinks all groups and individuals and personalities who feel the country deserves better and believe that a different direction should be taken by our leaders should endeavor to unite and come together.
He said LP welcomes “all efforts to unite.”
According to Pangilinan, his main concern as president of the Liberal Party and that of Robredo, is “to focus immediately and right now all our energy to try and figure out how we to get out of this resurgence of the virus.”
“It’s not as if we haven’t been going, doing our work, too. Since 2016, we have been organizing and we have been building chapters, so we’ve been doing that,” he added.
“It is not as if we have not been doing anything. But as for now, we really need to focus on the problems posed by COVID,” Pangilinan said.
The party’s vice president, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, said he supports the effort to have a common opposition candidate.
“Frankly, when I saw the faces of the members of the group, my first impression was — those are the petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act, which I authored and sponsored in the Senate,” related Drilon.
The senator said that when he saw the members of the party list groups representing the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives in 1Sambayan, “it’s like déjà vu all over again.”
“Does this mean political concessions and accommodations all over again if they take power in 2022?” Drilon asked.
He said: “One reason why we cannot move forward as a country is what Albert Einstein described as doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.”
“No matter how well intentioned they are, I can see very credible personalities like Bro. Armin Luistro, former DFA Sec. Albert del Rosario and Carpio. Politics is as usual not trustworthy so good luck to them, Drilon stated.
In launching the coalition, Carpio said 1Sambayan has already met with some possible candidates, including Robredo, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, and former Sen. Antonio Trillanes.