The opposition ticket could look almost entirely different as the domestic political landscape continues to shift with alliances taking shape while the ruling party breaks into two factions.
In separate interviews, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Richard Gordon have confirmed meeting with Vice President Leni Robredo for a possible coalition for the 2022 presidential elections to run against the popular Duterte Administration, whose anointed one is expected to be a strong bet despite the ongoing rift inside the PDP-Laban.
“Yes, we talked. I was with Senate President Vicente Sotto III. At the time, she was with [former] Sen. Bam Aquino,” Lacson said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay.
“I will not divulge what we talked about because I have no authority to share our agenda. But we talked,” he added.
Lacson previously announced his intention to run in the 2022 presidential polls with Sotto as his running mate.
The tandem also released their initial list of senatorial candidates running under their ticket, which included big names such as former Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Senator JV Ejercito, Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, and House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.
Robredo is being pressed as the standard-bearer of the opposition party. However, she has yet to announce her plans for the upcoming polls, but she stated she is “open to all options”.
Gordon, who also signified his intention to run for the country’s top post, said he is in talks with Robredo for a possible “partnership”.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed by the Vice President, we had a chat last week. But I don’t want to say anything about what we talked about,” he said.
“For transparency’s sake, we talked, but we did not discuss who will run,” he added.
Liberal Party (LP) President Senator Francis Pangilinan confirmed the meetings and said he helped arrange them as part of the opposition’s “efforts to explore uniting with other groups and personalities”.
The LP, along with 1Sambayan, have repeatedly said that a united slate is critical for the opposition to win against the administration’s bets next year.
Earlier, the opposition party said they plan to reach out to Lacson and three other officials, including Senators Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, to build the “broadest unity possible”.
“I helped arrange these meetings in coordination with the OVP (Office of the Vice President) as part of our previously announced efforts at exploring uniting with other groups and personalities for the coming 2022 elections,” Pangilinan said in a message to reporters.
“As VP Leni said several weeks ago, the unity of all those who share a common belief in providing genuine solutions to the country’s problems is key come 2022 if we are to put the country on the right track towards succeeding in reaching the twin goals of defeating Covid and achieving economic recovery. That is all that I am at liberty to say right now,” he added.
Trillanes chides Robredo
But the recent development did not sit well with former senator Sonny Trillanes, who has presented himself as a presidential candidate for the opposition.
Trillanes, who earlier said he is willing to withdraw his presidential bid to give way to Robredo, hoped the coalition with Lacson is “not true” and warned the Magdalo Group would not back the Vice President and her party should they decide to pursue the alliance.
“VP Leni, I hope this is not true. If it is, I apologize, but the Magdalo Group would not join you and LP if you give way to Sen. Lacson,” he said in a Twitter post.
“May I remind you that Sen. Lacson is among those who rallied for the unjust imprisonment of your party-mate, Sen. De Lima,” he added.