THE FAILED potential alliance between Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, the head of the current opposition party, and the tandem of Senators Vicente C. Sotto III and Panfilo M. Lacson spells trouble for both camps in the 2022 elections.
Dennis C. Coronacion, chair of the University of Santo Tomas Political Science Department, said the falling out will hurt Ms. Robredo’s aim to have a unified opposition in next year’s poll and lose votes from Lacson-Sotto supporters.
“Had VP Robredo shown good ratings in the surveys and had her actions shown that she’s a strong political leader, there would have been no serious challenges to her plan of leading the unified opposition,” Mr. Coronacion said in a Viber message to BusinessWorld.
On the other hand, the Lacson-Sotto tandem might not muster enough support without allies, according to Maria Ela L. Atienza, former chair of the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Political Science Department.
The Lacson-Sotto tandem wanted to be labeled as “neutral,” she said, however, being open to talks with Ms. Robredo meant that they also entertain the possibility of being seen as opposition candidates.
“Their failure in talks and negotiations with other groups may cause them to lose support,” Ms. Atienza said.
“This is the difficulty in a country where we do not have strong parties and people vote on the basis of personalities,” she said. “It is also difficult for candidates to gauge support from other politicians and their political parties as it is so easy to break coalition agreements and jump to the more winnable candidates.”
Mr. Sotto, in a Viber message to reporters on Monday, said the vice-president’s “outright rejection” of Mr. Lacson’s proposed strategy “meant they had something else in mind at the outset.”
Mr. Lacson suggested that all potential presidential contenders file a candidacy in October, then pull out in favor of one who will lead surveys in the months leading up to the campaign period starting February.
Ms. Robredo said on Sunday that she rejected Mr. Lacson’s offer because of her “personal belief” that she should fight for her presidential bid until the end, even if she ranks low in surveys. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan