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‘Libre mangarap’: Palace shrugs off Trillanes’ possible prexy bid



Malacañang on Thursday shrugged off the announcement made by former senator Antonio Trillanes IV that he is willing to lead the opposition slate in the 2022 elections, saying it’s free to dream.

Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque noted that all Filipinos, including Trillanes, have the right to run for president.

“It’s free to dream. So, we should let former senator Trillanes dream of becoming the next president. It’s his right as a Filipino,” Roque said in a televised briefing.

The Palace official, however, noted that Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp has clarified that she still considers a possible presidential bid in 2022.

Trillanes, who is among the most vocal critics of the Duterte administration, announced Wednesday that he is presenting himself as the possible standard-bearer of the opposition coalition 1Sambayan if Robredo declines to run for president.

In a Facebook post, he asked 1Sambayan convenors to change his status from being an “alternate” presidential bet to a “principal candidate” of the opposition for the presidency.

In view of VP Leni’s preparations to run for Governor of Camarines Sur in 2022, I, together with the Magdalo group, have…

Posted by Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The former lawmaker said his announcement is based on the assumption that Robredo will run for governor of Camarines Sur in the 2022 elections.

“Just to further stress this point, in the event that VP Leni definitively decides to run for President before 1Sambayan picks its nominees in July, I would wholeheartedly step aside and withdraw my own candidacy in her favor,” he said.

“But until then, we would work on the assumption that VP Leni would run for governor of CamSur and, thus, we could now start our own preparations focusing on the development of policy prescriptions to solve the different problems of our country,” Trillanes added.

Hours later, Robredo’s camp refuted Trillanes’ claim that the vice president has decided to seek a gubernatorial run in her home province, adding that she remains open to “all options” including a possible presidential bid.

“She has not made a decision regarding the 2022 elections, and there is absolutely no truth to the claim that she is making ‘preparations’ to run for Governor of Camarines Sur,” said lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson.

Robredo is the highest-ranking government official from the Liberal Party, and considered as the figurehead of the opposition.

In November, she said gunning for the presidency was “always a possibility,” though she preferred a local post.

Following Trillanes’ declaration, 1Sambayan said the process of selection for its candidates for president, vice president, and the Senate would be announced on June 12.

Sa mula’t mula ay kabilang na si dating Senador Antonio #Trillanes sa aming listahan ng mga nominado, gayon din si VP…

Posted by 1Sambayan on Wednesday, May 12, 2021

“Former Sen. Antonio #Trillanes has always been included in our list of nominees, as is VP #LeniRobredo,” the coalition said in its Twitter account.

“On June 12, the process of selection will be announced, and we will invite our members, allied groups, and patriotic Filipinos to join and participate in the process,” it added.

The coalition aims to challenge the administration’s bets in the next elections by forming a single slate of “more competent” contenders and has vowed to screen candidates from “democratic forces” across the Philippine political spectrum.

Among its convenors are retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and ex-foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario.

The administration has yet to name its potential standard-bearer in the 2022 elections, but as early as February, members of the ruling PDP-Laban have been urging President Rodrigo Duterte to run for vice president.