Colmenares says Trillanes opposed his inclusion in Robredo’s Senate lineup

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Colmenares says Trillanes opposed his inclusion in Robredoâs Senate lineup
Undated file photos show former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:24 p.m.) — Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV objected to his inclusion in Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate.

“There were some representatives of the vice president who called me up to discuss that I’m being considered, however there were objections within their, probably their slate or coalition,” Colmenares told ABS-CBN News Channel’s “After the Fact” on Friday.

Asked as to who was opposing his inclusion in Robredo’s Senate lineup, Colmenares said it was Trillanes, who is already part of the vice president’s ticket.

Colmenares is trying to clinch a Senate seat for the third time under the banner of the leftist Makabayan coalition.

The former Bayan Muna lawmaker said Trillanes opposed his inclusion into the ticket over his supposed links to the armed communist insurgency and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, who is among Robredo’s opponents for the presidency.

‘A lot of us have been killed, jailed’

“Medyo nadismaya lang ako na a senatorial slate of the opposition will say these intrigues and lies against fellow opposition candidate. Hindi naman siguro matatawaran na opposition rin kami. Marami na sa amin ang namatay. Marami na sa amin ang nakulong,” Colmenares said.

(I am a bit disappointed that a senatorial candidate of the opposition will say these intrigues and lies against a fellow opposition candidate. 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.)

Makabayan and its allies within the broader national democratic movement have been frequently red-tagged, or accused of being part of the communist insurgency, by state forces and right-wing parties such as Trillanes’ Magdalo.

These accusations are often bereft of proof and have been repeatedly denied by the leftist groups who have maintained that they are unarmed civilians.

READ: CHR warns of grave implications of red-tagging groups

Makabayan has also denied that it has yet to throw its support behind any presidential aspirant in the 2022 elections.

Colmenares, however, did run for senator alongside Domagoso under the ticket of Sen. Grace Poe who ran for president in 2016.

The names of Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer Labog, who is also running for senator, have also appeared in the senatorial lineup of presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao, but Makabayan clarified that there was no deal between them and the boxer-turned-lawmaker.

Trillanes said in a tweet on Saturday that while Makabayan wants Colmenares included in Robredo's slate, the leftist coalition has yet to endorse Robredo.

He alleged that members of Makabayan who are part of opposition coalition 1Sambayan were "pushing for Isko," did not vote for Robredo and even tried to stop the coalition's endorsement of the vice president.

‘Never had the chance’

Robredo unveiled Friday an 11-man senatorial lineup largely consisting of reelectionists and political foes whom she said have agreed to come together to forge a better future for the country.

Colmenares was not included in the slate, but Robredo said he is among four or five nominees being considered for the 12th spot, alongside Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula.

Colmenares and Matula were in talks with the Robredo camp ahead of the announcement of her senatorial lineup for their possible inclusion in it.

But Colmenares revealed that these negotiations happened through representatives and that he never got the chance to speak with Robredo in person.

“We would have been happy if we could have sat down with the vice president so that they could discuss with us, not just the platforms, but also the concerns or objections in full so that we can respond, but we never had the chance,” he said.

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