Vice President Leni Robredo said there will be no more unity talks with other presidential bets as Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko’ Moreno chided her for failing to unify her own Liberal Party first.
Robredo said she has exerted too much effort talking with the other candidates that she did not name, but none of them agreed on a common slate.
"Our lines remain open but the focus now is not [the time for] uniting principals but the people's support. We realized that there is a united support for us," Robredo said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“I was really exerting a lot of effort but it has to end somewhere. We cannot unite for unity’s sake. We should have shared aspirations, agree on basic, important points and how are we going to steer the country towards meaningful change we aspire for," she added.
Domagoso, for his part, said he would not side with a candidate whose unifying skills were questionable as pro-Robredo groups appealed to other presidential aspirants to withdraw their certificates of candidacy and give way to the Vice President.
In a statement on Friday, Domagoso also questioned Robredo’s real intent for seeking the country’s highest post.
“Is that the only reason why she is running?” Domagoso said, referring to Robredo’s repeated pronouncements before she declared her candidacy that she will run for president to prevent Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. from winning.
“How about us Filipinos? We don’t have work. Many Filipinos do not have enough food to eat and are facing a bleak future. Marcos again?
Domagoso said the lives of Filipinos should not revolve around the dispute between the Marcoses and the Aquinos, nor on the misunderstanding between the Marcos and Aquino children and supporters, whom he called “yellowtards.”
Robredo, however, has ditched Aquino yellow for pink as her campaign color.
Domagoso added it is his right to run for president and democracy is not exclusive to anyone, but “practiced by over 100 million Filipinos.”
He also chided Robredo, who ran as an independent despite being the titular leader of the Liberal Party. He said she could hardly talk of unity when she failed to unify her own party.
“Oh my God, how can you drop your party?” Domagoso said. “If you can drop your party, how much more 110 million Filipinos?”
The #withdrawisko hashtag became popular online after Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy on Thursday.
On Friday, Aksyon Demokratiko chairman Ernest Ramel said Domagoso will not withdraw from the presidential race.
Robredo was endorsed by the 1Sambayan coalition, which pushed for a united opposition running against President Duterte’s hand-picked successor.
But in her talks with other opposition candidates, she said she encountered basic differences and principles, especially on how to run the country.
This compelled her to seek out groups with the same aspirations, she said.
Robredo brushed aside the statement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he would be her worst nightmare should she decide to run for president.
“It's not my problem. What is important to me right now is to focus on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, it's the most important thing we all should do right now,” she said.