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Colmenares: Trillanes blocked my inclusion in Leni-Kiko Senate slate

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Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said that former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV had opposed his inclusion in Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate.

In an interview with ANC, Colmenares bared that Trillanes had raised his supposed links to the armed communist insurgency and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, who is among Robredo’s opponents for the presidency, to supposedly block his inclusion in the opposition ticket.

“There were some representatives of the vice president who called me up to discuss that I’m being considered. However, there were objections,” he told Christian Esguerra’s “After the Fact” program on Friday night.

Asked to specify who opposed his inclusion, Colmenares cited Trillanes, who is part of the ticket which has been described as the “unified opposition.”

The progressive lawmaker said that while he respects Robredo’s decision to exclude him from the slate, he was disappointed that the said allegations were raised against him.

“I am a bit disappointed that a senatorial candidate of the opposition will say these intrigues and lies against a fellow opposition candidate,” Colmenares said.

“Perhaps it cannot be denied that we, too, are in the opposition. A lot of us have been killed. A lot of us have been jailed,” he added.

He joined the crowded Senate race in next year’s elections under the banner of the Makabayan coalition, which has been accused of being part of the armed communist movement. The group has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying they are unarmed.

Colmenares also dismissed Trillanes’ accusation that the Makabayan bloc has already supported a presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections.

He and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog have been included in the senatorial lineup of presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao, but Makabayan clarified that there was no deal between them and the boxer-lawmaker.

A day after Colmenares’s interview, Trillanes took a swipe at the leftist coalition, saying it merely wanted its candidates to be included in Robredo’s slate even if it was pushing for Moreno’s presidency.

“Makabayan wants Neri to be included in VP’s slate. But Makabayan has yet to endorse the VP. In fact, in 1Sambayan, they did not vote for VP, and were pushing for Isko. They even tried to stop the 1Sambayan endorsement of Leni. Pwede ba, wag ako,” he said.

Robredo bared Friday an 11-man senatorial lineup largely consisting of reelectionists and political foes whom she said have agreed to forge ties for the next elections.

The vice president then expressed hopes that the last spot in her slate would represent marginalized sectors, which could likely see Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula of the Federation of Free Workers battling it out.

On Saturday, communist leader Jose Maria Sison frowned upon the exclusion of Colmenares in the partial senatorial ticket of Robredo, who is running with Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for 2022.

Sison, who has been in self-exile in The Netherlands, also criticized the inclusion of President Rodrigo Duterte’s “longtime” allies in the senatorial slate.

“The former clear-cut status of the ‘pink’ presidential candidate as opposition is now decreased by the exclusion of Neri Colmenares from her senatorial slate and the inclusion of longtime Duterte loyalists,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Sison also criticized the dominance of familiar names during elections, adding that there were only few candidates from the poor sectors and even in the lower middle class.

“The representatives of the lower middle class and the toiling masses of workers and peasants who run as candidates at the national level are so few,” he said.

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