Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said Vice President Leni Robredo is still “open to running” in the 2022 National Elections as she turned down his offer for a “sure unification” to challenge the administration’s bets in the next year’s polls.
“The gist of the discussion was unification. To have a common candidate, if possible, against the administration,” Lacson said in a television interview.
“I offered her a sure unification effort or formula to unite in the end. There was resistance. I won’t discuss the details, but that’s what I see. Senate President knows this because I offered it to her openly in his presence,” he added.
The senator was pertaining to a meeting of him and Robredo which he bared to the media last week.
Lacson, however, initially refused to disclose the details of the discussion.
Liberal Party (LP) President Senator Francis Pangilinan confirmed the meeting and said he helped arrange it as part of their “efforts at exploring unity with other groups and personalities”.
The LP along with coalition 1Sambayan have repeatedly said that a united slate is critical for the opposition to win against the administration’s bets next year.
The opposition party previously said they plan to reach out to Lacson and three other officials — Sen. Nancy Binay, Sen. Joel Villanueva, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno — to build the “broadest unity possible”.
“She resisted. She is not sold to the idea but it was a sure formula for putting up at least, between the two of us, a common candidate but unfortunately, she didn’t buy it,” Lacson said.
Both Lacson and Robredo are seen to join the Presidential race but it is only the senator who had confirmed his bid so far.
He and his running-mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III are the first candidates to announce their plans in the 2022 May Elections.
They likewise unveiled an initial list of senatorial candidates which included heavyweight names like former Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sorsogon Governor Chiz Escudero, and House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda.
The tandem has also formed alliances with other political groups such as Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma — which Lacson recently took the helm— and Aksyon Demokratiko, the party of Sotto’s nephew Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto.
The Vice President, meanwhile, remains the top candidate of the opposition as its standard-bearer.
She has yet to confirm her plans but repeatedly said she is “open to all options”.