Robredo yet to decide as 1Sambayan picks her for president in 2022

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:20 p.m) — Vice President Leni Robredo remains undecided on whether she will run for president even as opposition coalition 1Sambayan has picked her to be its candidate for Malacañang in the 2022 elections.

"Ang desisyon sa pagtakbo, hindi pwedeng nakabase sa ambisyon, o sa pag-udyok ng iba," Robredo said in a statement shortly after 1Sambayan's announcement on Thursday. "Sa loob ito dapat manggaling, dala ng pagharap sa lahat ng konsiderasyon at malalim na pagsuri sa situwasyon."

(Deciding to run should not be based on ambition or the prodding of others. This should come from within, brought about by facing all considerations and a deep analysis of the situation.)

She added, "Sa mga susunod na araw, samahan ninyo akong magdasal pa, (In the coming days, join me in more prayer) that our decision will be what is best for our country."

Robredo has said in the past that she is ready for the presidency but has also raised the option of running for vice president again. There have also been rumors that she will run for a local post in Camarines Sur.

Robredo's uncertainty over her potential presidential run is in stark contrast to the confidence exhibited by 1Sambayan convenor and former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who said there is only a "remote possibility" that the vice president will reject their endorsement.

Carpio said 1Sambayan expects to meet with Robredo, who is currently in Bicol, to explain why they chose her.

"We hope that she will accept our challenge," Carpio said. "She is willing to save the country from plunder, from the dictatorship, she is willing to accept the challenge."

Should Robredo end up rejecting 1Sambayan's endorsement, Carpio said convenors would have to meet again and decide on their next steps.

Top pick

Robredo, who was only one of two politicians who agreed to be part of 1Sambayan's selection process, emerged as the top pick of the coalition in their internal survey and among convenors, Carpio said. The coalition claims membership of three million.

"We based our decision on several criteria: Integrity, competence, track record, patriotism, vision for our country and winnability. We have chosen VP Leni based on this criteria," Carpio said.

The vice president, while viewed by her supporters as the only feasible choice for Malacañang, has been performing poorly in pre-election polls, with only 8% of Filipinos saying in the latest Pulse Asia survey that they would vote for her for president.

Carpio, however, is unfazed by Robredo's poor showing in surveys, saying that polls this early are not yet indicative of what the true results of the elections would be come May 2022.

Unity talks

1Sambayan was formed last year in the hopes of forging unity among the broad forces that compose the opposition to find consensus candidates from the presidency down to the Senate who would go head-to-head with President Rodrigo Duterte’s anointed bets.

The coalition has been engaged in unity talks with various political personalities, including Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who have both declared they are running for president.

Carpio said these discussions would continue even after they have endorsed Robredo, but with the goal of them withdrawing in favor of the vice president.

Whether this would happen remains to be seen as both Domagoso and Pacquiao have said that while they are open to continue unity negotiations, they would no longer be backing down from the presidential derby.

"We live in a democracy so we really cannot prevent anyone from running for president. All we can do is to persuade because we are a very big coalition," Carpio said.

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