The Philippine Star

‘Leni to play more active role in the 2019 polls’


Vice President Leni Robredo will start playing a more active role as leader of the political opposition in the coming months, according to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

For the past two years, Trillanes said critics of the administra­tion like himself have been taking up the cudgels for Robredo and that this was deliberate.

“We believe that the timing for her to carry the torch of the opposition wasn’t right then during the first two years, but now, I believe she’s warming up to that role and she’s going to come out,” Trillanes said in an interview with The Chiefs aired over One News, Cignal TV’s premier news channel, Friday night.

Trillanes said the status of Robredo as the leader of the opposition is clear to all of them, even though she is perceived to be reluctant to take on this role.

Robredo is chair of the Liberal Party, which has as its key members four senators led by its vice chairman, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Francis Pangilinan, who is president.

The other two LP senators are Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Leila de Lima. Trillanes and Sen. Risa Hontiveros form the rest of the Senate minority bloc, as members of the opposition.

Once the election season for the 2019 mid-term polls starts, Trillanes said the public will see a very visible Robredo as the leader of the opposition.

“And then it would be clear to everyone now that she is indeed the leader of the opposition,” he said.

Trillanes, whose term is ending next year, is part of the selection committee of the political opposition for the 2019 senatorial race.

At the moment, the opposition has yet to come up with enough names to fill up all 12 slots available for the senatorial election.

Trillanes said they are in the process of talking to various potential candidates who share the same principles and positions, including former chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

In a previous interview, Trillanes said the presence of a strong opposition bloc in the Senate is key to prevent the Duterte administra­tion from railroadin­g certain controvers­ial measures such as amending the Constituti­on in order to change the form of government from unitary to federal.

Trillanes said the move towards federalism is self-serving on the part of President Duterte and several of his allies in Congress.

In the case of the President, Trillanes claimed Duterte will benefit from the transitory provisions because he will be able to extend his term beyond 2022.

For Duterte’s allies in Congress, particular­ly the members of the House of Representa­tives, Trillanes said they will benefit by becoming members of parliament, thus effectivel­y extending their own terms.

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