2022 Philippine Elections

‘Possible unity’ in 2022? Robredo meets with Lacson-Sotto, Gordon

Mara Cepeda

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‘Possible unity’ in 2022? Robredo meets with Lacson-Sotto, Gordon

In this file photo, Vice President Leni Robredo speaks during a meeting at the Office of the Vice President on October 9, 2020.

Jay Ganzon/OVP

(1st UPDATE) Vice President Leni Robredo continues with her exploratory talks with possible contenders in the 2022 elections

Vice President Leni Robredo recently met with potential 2022 presidential race contenders, senators Richard Gordon and Senator Panfilo Lacson as well as the latter’s running mate, Senate President Vicente Sotto III. 

This was confirmed to Rappler by Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez on Wednesday, July 28.

He said the meetings were conducted last week – between July 19 to 23 – as part of the Vice President’s effort to build the “broadest unity” possible in 2022. 

Lacson also confirmed meeting the Vice President with Sotto during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, while Gordon disclosed it an ANC Headstart interview

Robredo was accompanied in her meeting with the Lacson-Sotto tandem by former senator Bam Aquino, her ally from the once-ruling Liberal Party and who had served as her campaign manager in the 2016 elections. 

Robredo was the underdog of the vice presidential race then, beating five incumbent Male senators to become Vice President. 

“I can’t speak about the specifics, but this is all part of the VP’s commitment to forge the broadest possible unity among groups and individuals seeking change in 2022,” Gutierrez said. 

Aquino also refused to go into specifics, but he told Rappler they discussed the kind of leader needed by the Philippines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Pinag-usapan namin ang sitwasyon ng ating bayan at ang liderato na kailangan upang malampasan natin ang patung-patong na krisis ngayon (We talked about the situation of our country and the leadership the country needs through the crises it is facing),” Aquino said in a text message. 

Robredo is still mulling over her potential presidential run in 2022.

She earlier disclosed that she is in “exploratory talks” with other potential contenders, including Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. Robredo believes that only a united opposition can topple President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime in the 2022 elections.

Next year’s polls could see the Vice President –  the most viable standard-bearer for the anti-Duterte forces, according to pre-election surveys – pitted against the President’s own daughter, poll frontrunner and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

But the Vice President has not decided on whether to run for president in 2022, given her low survey numbers so far, and the persistent attacks from the Duterte machinery these past five years.

Her other options include running for Camarines Sur governor or taking a break from politics in 2022.

Gordon is also finalizing his 2022 electoral bid but has told the media he is thinking of the presidency. Lacson, meanwhile, has already confirmed he is running for president with Sotto as his running mate.

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Robredo is ‘nice, respectable’

Just like Robredo’s spokesperson, Lacson and Gordon did not divulge specific details about what transpired during their meetings with Robredo.

Gordon said they have not discussed yet who among them would run for president or vice president in 2022.

Still, he replied in the affirmative when asked if a “possible partnership” with Robredo for the elections was discussed. 

“I know where I’m going and she knows where she’s going… She’s a very nice lady. I respect her, and that’s what we need, respectable people who’ll run the country,” Gordon said. 

The senator confirmed on Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Gutierrez said even before Gordon announced his infection, however, Robredo already tested negative for the virus over the weekend since she returned to Manila after going to her hometown Naga City to oversee her Vaccine Express project there.

Robredo is currently finishing her seven-day quarantine and may get herself tested for COVID-19 again after Gordon’s announcement. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.