Former Bayan Muna Representative and Senate aspirant Neri Colmenares said he and the entire Makabayan bloc will not be distracted by his non-inclusion in Vice President Leni Robredo’s slate for next year’s national elections.
In a statement following Robredo’s press conference with running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan Friday morning, Colmenares said his resolve to run for the Senate is based on the need to give the poor and marginalized a strong voice in Congress.
“We in Makabayan have always relied on the support of various groups and the people for progressive and pro-people independent candidates like me,” he said.
Team Robredo’s senatorial slate does not include Colmenares even after strong endorsements from allies such as 1Sambayan and former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
Colmenares said it is the Vice President’s prerogative as standard bearer on who to include in her team.
“My non-inclusion in her slate at this time is based on what she thinks is best for the interest of her candidacy,” he said.
Colmenares added he is grateful for his inclusion in 1Sambayan’s senatorial slate.
Colmenares and Kilusang Mayo Uno chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog are the official candidates for the Senate of the Makabayan bloc, a group of progressive parties representing marginalized sectors.
“We will employ our 3.5 million voter base, our national campaign machinery, our social media warriors, and poll watchers nationwide to push for the people’s agenda in the Senate and oppose the efforts of Duterte and Marcos to return to Malacañang,” Colmenares said.
Meanwhile, social media reports said both Colmenares and Labog are guest candidates of presidential and vice-presidential aspirants Manny Pacquiao and Lito Atienza.
The Pacquaio-Atienza camp has yet to make a formal announcement however. # (Raymund B. Villanueva