Former Senator Sonny Trillanes yesterday pressed Vice President Leni Robredo to announce if she will join the presidential race to represent the “real opposition” in the upcoming 2022 elections.
Trillanes, chairman of the Magdalo Group, said talks of a unified opposition has fallen through after Senators Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso officially declared they are vying for the presidency.
Domagoso announced he is seeking the presidency in next year’s election on Wednesday, a few days after the Vice President met him and Pacquiao, who declared his run last Sunday.
The meeting was part of Robredo’s plans to create a slate to oppose bets backed by the Duterte administration.
According to Trillanes, the recent declarations show they were eyeing the presidency regardless of the decision of Robredo.
Prior to their announcements, Domagoso was being eyed as running mate of Robredo or Pacquiao. His name was also mentioned as among the possible presidential contenders.
According to Trillanes, even from the start, Lacson, Pacquiao and Domagoso were really determined to run for President.
“Besides, they are not the real opposition no matter how we figure it out. That’s why the Magdalo group is appealing for the Vice President’s immediate decision regarding the coming 2022 elections,” Trillanes said in a statement.
The former Navy officer recalled that in recent months, the entire opposition has allowed Robredo to go through her thorough decision-making process, something that he “respects and understands because we know how serious this decision is.”
With only a week left before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC), Trillanes said the Magdalo group believes that enough time has passed for Robredo to evaluate what is good for the country.
“We, the opposition forces are united behind VP Leni and ready to push for her candidacy for the presidency. We are also convinced that VP Leni will win the presidency once she decides to push through with her candidacy,” he said.
In case Robredo rejects their call to run for president, Trillanes guaranteed the ranks of the real opposition in the country that the Magdalo group is “ready to fill the leadership gap.”
“Magdalo has already devoted a long time to the ongoing fight against corruption and abuse, and to truly stand up for the rights of the people. We will not back down from this challenge,” he said.
Trillanes insisted it is now imperative for the Vice President to decide whether she intends to lead the real opposition by seeking the presidency herself, or to step aside and allow others to continue the fight toward real change.
“If VP Leni is ready, we will make her win. If she is not pushing through, then Magdalo is ready,” he added.
Meanwhile, Domagoso, who is the standard bearer of Aksyon Demokratiko, said he respects critics who taunted him in rushing for the presidency.
Speaking in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source, just a day after formally declaring his presidential bid in 2022, Domagoso noted that he has been serving the city and the government for 23 years of my life
“I am 46 years old. Half of my life is dedicated to public service,” he said.
“Remember, there are many people who sat in office by nature or destiny, in the likes of Tita Cory,” said Domagoso while referring to the late President Corazon Aquino who became a President from being a “plain housewife.”
He emphasized there are other politicians who also secured their posts despite having zero political experience.
Domagoso started his political career as councilor of Manila’s first district in 1998 before serving as vice mayor of the city in 2007 and 2013.
He was also appointed by President Duterte as chairman of the board of the North Luzon Railways Corporation and as undersecretary for Luzon Affairs at the Department of Social Welfare and Development.