VICE PRESIDENT LENI ROBREDO displays her certificate of candidacy for president in this file photo.

By Alfred Gabot, Editor in Chief
PASAY CITY – As the  deadline of the filing of certificates of candidacy ends, four major presidential candidates – Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former Sen. Ferdinand |”Bongbong” Marcos Jr. – have filed their certificates of candidacy, indicating the failure of the opposition to unite against the candidate of President Rodrigo Duterte.
At press time, Vice President Leni Robredo herself made formal her bid for the presidency by filing her CoC before the Comelec, raising the presidentiables to five.
At the same time, Sen. Francis Pangilinan filed his CoC for vice president. He will running in tandem with Robredo, chairman of the Liberal Party and leader of the opposition.

“Lalaban ako, lalaban tayo. Inihahain ko ang aking sarili bilang kandidato sa pagka-pangulo sa halalan ng 2022 [I will fight, we will fight. I am offering myself as a candidate for president in next year’s elections],”  said Robredo, a lawyer and former congresswoman of Camarines Sur.

Facing her supporters, Robredo vowed to end the country’s “old and rotten” political system. “Tatalunin natin ang luma at bulok na pulitika,” she said.

“Buong-buo ang loob ko ngayon. Kailangan natin palayain ang ating sarili mula sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon [I wholeheartedly accept this challenge. We need to free ourselves from the current situation],” Robredo said in her speech after filing her CoC as an independent.

Robredo also criticized the current administration in her speech, saying lack of leadership is causing many of the country’s problems.

“Kung gusto nating tunay na makalaya sa ganitong situwasyon, hindi lang apelyido ng mga nasa poder ang dapat palitan; ‘yung korupsyon, ‘yung incompetence, ‘yung kawalan ng malasakit, kailangang palitan ng matino at mahusay na pamumuno,” she said.

Many groups immediately welcomed Robredo’s candidacy joining the opposition coalition 1Sambayan, Akbayan party-list, and various other groups which endorsed her candidacy.

In a related development, two former Vice Presidents – Jejomar Binay and Noli de Castro – and former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano filed their CoCs for senator, making the race for the 12 senatorial seats “too crowded” with several reelectionists and returning senators.

In the meantime, the move of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio  was being awaited going into October 8, the deadline of the filing of CoCs, in the wake of Duterte’s announcement that the administration would be fielding a “Sara-Bong Co” ticket, with the presidential daughter as candidate for president and Sen. Christopher Lawrence Bong Go for vice president.

Robredo is considered as the opposition’s best bet for president. Her decision to run was made after months of dillydallying on her political plans.

Mayor Sara, who has been topping surveys, has filed her CoC for mayor in Davao City and insisted that she would not run for president, which supporters and many doubted. Many followers of Mayor Sara continue to drump public clamor for her to run for president.

Meanwhile, those who filed COC for vice president were Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza in tandem with Pacquiao; Senate President Vicente Sotto with Lacson; Dr. Willie Ong with Mayor Domagoso. Marcos has no identified VP candidate.

Several reelectionist senators and comebacking senators led by Rep. Loren Legarda, Juan Miguel Zubiri, JV Ejercito, Jose Jinggoy Estrada, Joel Villanueva, Gov. Francis Escudero, have filed their CoCs.

Marcos  filed his CoC at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City and declared readiness for a possible “rematch” with Vice President Robredo, who edged him back in the 2016 elections.

Political coalition 1SAMBAYAN and other groups immediately urged the public to reject what it called “lies” and “historical distortions” from the Marcos family.

In a statement, the group stressed that the administration of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was not the “golden era” of the Philippines, contrary to what was being propagated by the family’s supporters.

Lacson said their tandem aims to reinstate the trust of the people in the government.

“Ability, Honesty, and Courage. The Lacson-Sotto tandem aims to restore the people’s trust in our government,” he added.

Lacson is running under the Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma (PDR), while Sotto is representing the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Senator Pacquiao was the first presidential candidate to file his CoC with his runningmate Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza on the first day of filing on October 1.

He was accompanied by his wife Jinkee while Atienza was accompanied by his wife Beng during the filing.

“Tumatakbo ako para maging Presidente ng Pilipinas, para sa bayan. Kailangan ko magkaroon ng alyansa sa mga partido na kapareho ko ang pananaw para maisulong ang kapakanan ng bayan (I am running to become the president of the Philippines for the nation. I need to have alliances with other parties who have similar views so that I can push for things that will benefit the country)” said Pacquiao.

Pacquiao represented the alliance composed of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (Promdi), and the People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

“We have an alliance PDP-Laban, Promdi and PCM…since there is still a problem with the party, we opted to use Promdi,” he said in a briefing after filing his COC.

The boxing champion is optimistic about his chances in next year’s polls.

“A survey is just a number. It does not include the voices of the poor people, those that really need our care and love,” Pacquiao said.

As for choosing Atienza as his running mate, Pacquiao said, “I chose Congressman Atienza for he has served the public for more than 50 years. His sincerity, expertise, and real desire to help the country.”

Meanwhile, Atienza said he agreed to run as Pacquiao’s running mate as he supports his advocacies.

“I believe that Manny Pacquiao is the only hope we have in improving our lives, much like how he changed his life from poverty to become the best boxer in the world,” he said.

A total of 15 aspirants for president, one seeking vice presidency, and 19 senatorial hopefuls filed COCs on Wednesday

Since the eight-day filing period started on Oct. 1, there are already 41 applicants for president, nine for vice president, 63 for senator, and 125 for party-list seats have filed their COCs.

The Comelec said there are already a total of 145 individuals who filed COCs for House of Representatives nationwide as of October 5.

It said 53 COCs for the position of governor, 33 for vice governor, 354 for Sangguniang Panlalawigan, 936 for mayor, 823 for vice mayor, and 7,116 for Sangguniang Panglungsod/Bayan have already been filed in different Comelec offices nationwide.

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