By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Philippine Star

Through a “strong enough base of support and unity behind only one standard-bearer in 2022,” former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV believes Vice President Leni Robredo could "propel to victory" should she run as the presidential candidate for the opposition. 

"Maliwanag ang mission at nagkakaisa rin ang opposition behind VP Leni as standard bearer. Naniniwala rin kami na, through 1Sambayan, we have a strong enough base of support to propel her to victory in 2022," said the Magdalo leader in a post on his social media accounts. 

"Mahaba pa ang kampanya. Plus, according to our internal surveys, pababa na talaga ang numero nila Duterte, and they know it," he added citing the Magdalo Group’s own survey of President Duterte’s approval ratings in Luzon. 

The Magdalo political organization of Trillanes, composed of retired members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has long been allied with the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP), where Robredo is the de facto leader. 
Robredo, according to Trillanes, should first "believe in herself that she can win," and needs no help from the cronies of President Duterte, particularly Sen. Richard Gordon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson. 
He added that Lacson "chaired the committee hearing that presented bogus witnesses to pin down Sen. Leila de Lima," and Sen. Gordon was the chairman of the committee that whitewashed the extrajudicial killings and corruption investigations, which "cleared Duterte of any involvement."

Robredo‘s meeting with Lacson and Gordon to discuss a possible partnership or coalition for the 2022 national elections has irked the ex-military mutineer, which provoked him to express his tantrums on social media. 
He underscored that Robredo having been in talks with potential presidential contenders 
will only "dilute" the opposition's message of "change"— its biggest campaign weapon in 2022.

Though the Vice President is exploring possible areas of partnership, Trillanes, who is one of the current nominees of the opposition coalition 1Sambayan, still hopes that it will not necessarily sacrifice the opposition's principles at the altar of “winnability." 

Amidst the speculations of abandonment, Trillanes bared that the Magdalo party would leave the alliance if in any case Robredo opted to just endorse possible candidates in the 2022 presidential race, instead of seeking a position in the government herself.

Meanwhile, Trillanes clarified that he will not be Robredo’s running mate as her tandem should either be with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno or Senator Grace Poe— candidates that could draw Robredo big votes and possibly, defeat the current administration’s bets next year.

Robredo and Trillanes are among the six nominees of 1Sambayan, together with Sen. Grace Poe, Citizens' Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva, Atty. Chel Diokno, and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto.

Robredo has cleared the air and said that she is open to be a candidate for the presidency, but she has said in the past that she wants to be instrumental in bringing a united opposition together to win against the authoritarian forces of the Duterte regime.