Makabayan endorses Robredo for president

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Makabayan endorses Robredo for president
Vice President Leni Robredo speaks with reporters at the Quezon City Reception House on October 10, 2021.
Philstar.com / Xave Gregorio

MANILA, Philippines (Updated January 29, 9:24 a.m.) — After initially holding back on their endorsement for a presidential candidate, the progressive Makabayan coalition said Friday it will be backing Vice President Leni Robredo in the race to Malacañang.

“Nais kong ipahayag, sa ngalan ng aking partido, ang Makabayan coalition, ang aming pag-endorso at malakas na suporta kay VP Leni Robredo bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo ng Pilipinas at kay Senator Kiko Pangilinan bilang bise presidente,” Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares said in a pre-recorded message shown during opposition coalition 1Sambayan’s campaign launch.

(I would like to announce, on behalf of my party, the Makabayan coalition, our endorsement and strong support for VP Leni Robredo as candidate for president of the Philippines and Senator Kiko Pangilinan as vice president.)

Colmenares, who is also now included in 1Sambayan’s Senate slate, said Makabayan’s support for Robredo and Pangilinan is based on their agreement on issues including the pandemic response, uplifting the lives of workers, farmers, the poor and Indigenous people, the environment, human rights, peace and sovereignty.

“Ako ay nananalig na sa ating pinagkaisang lakas, tayo ay magtatagumpay laban sa tambalan ng kadiliman na nais ipagpatuloy ang tiraniya at baluktot na pamamahala sa ating bansa.”

(I am hoping that with our unified strength, we will win against the pairing of darkness who wants to continue the tyranny and wayward leadership in our country.)

While Colmenares is now in 1Sambayan’s Senate slate, which left out all of Robredo’s guest candidates, it is not yet clear whether he will also be included in the vice president’s senatorial lineup.

Makabayan had held off on formally endorsing Robredo even after 1Sambayan’s endorsement of her due to concerns that such an announcement of support might close the door on unifying non-administration aspirants and that the vice president has not met with them personally.

Although this was the case, Makabayan never shut out the possibility of backing Robredo, with its leader, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, even saying that his exclusion from her Senate slate "does not preclude us from continuing engagement and cooperation with her campaign on urgent issues that concern our people."

As the elections drew nearer and the prospect of unifying non-administration bets became murkier, political winds appeared to have shifted in favor of Robredo.

This is the first time that Makabayan is endorsing a presidential aspirant hailing from the once-ruling Liberal Party, although Robredo is running as an independent bet even as she continues to be the party’s chairperson.

In 2010, Makabayan endorsed Nacionalista Party’s Manny Villar over LP’s Noynoy Aquino, while in 2016 the coalition picked the independent Grace Poe over LP’s Mar Roxas.

They also allied with President Rodrigo Duterte in the early years of his administration, only for them to fall out over disagreements on peace talks with communist rebels and the brutal anti-drug campaign.

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