LP president backs fielding single opposition presidential candidate
This file photo shows Sen. Francis Pangilinan during a Kapihan sa Senado media forum.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

LP president backs fielding single opposition presidential candidate

(Philstar.com) - June 10, 2021 - 3:21pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, president of the formerly ruling Liberal Party, backed calls for the opposition to unite behind a single presidential candidate in next year’s elections.

Among the officials seen as a potential candidate for president is Vice President Leni Robredo, who is LP chair.

"The reason behind we have to have one candidate is because we want to win. If we split the votes, then it will be Duterte and his administration all over again," Pangilinan told ABS-CBN News Channel’s "Headstart" on Thursday.

This is a shift from previous pronouncements from Pangilinan, who previously said that the LP has no official stand yet on opposition coalition 1Sambayan, which eyes to field a national ticket for the 2022 polls.

Pangilinan acknowledged that unity among the broad forces that make up the opposition is critical in winning the elections, saying that this is what they learned from their losses in 2016 and 2019.

“If we are to unite we have to go with the broadest coalition possible to succeed to be an effective force in what we believe to be better,” he said.

“We need to broaden our forces and we need to unite behind one candidate. And that requires really embracing those who we have differences with,” he added.

LP's Robredo is among the politicians being considered by 1Sambayan as its potential presidential candidate.

Pangilinan said they have discussed the possibility of fielding Robredo as the opposition’s presidential candidate for 2022, but also acknowledged that the opposition may choose to field someone else.

Aside from Robredo, 1Sambayan is considering Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as canddiates for president or vice president.

Robredo has said that she remains open to running for president, while Trillanes has said he is gunning for the nomination of 1Sambayan as its presidential candidate.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, a member of the Senate majority bloc who has been more critical of government policies in recent months, has turned down a potential nomination for 1Sambayan, saying his sponsorship of the Anti-Terrorism Act puts him at odds with convenors who oppose the law. — Xave Gregorio

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