Tito Sotto text message claims it was Robredo who initiated talks

August 10, 2021 - 7:30 AM
Senate President Tito Sotto and Vice President Leni Robredo. (Senate PRIB | Interaksyon, file)

Senate President Vicente Sotto III shared a screenshot of a text message from an unnamed sender who claimed that it was Vice President Leni Robredo who reached out to him and Sen. Panfilo Lacson about a so-called “unification plan.”

Sotto was referring to talks between potential running mate Lacson and Robredo about a collaboration among candidates opposing the administration slate for the 2022 elections.

It was reported that Lacson initiated the talks with Robredo. The snapshot of a message Sotto posted on Twitter on August 9 suggests it was Robredo who tried to ask for a consultation.

He claimed that this was sent to him last July 14.

Sotto edited out the name of the person who sent the text message.

“I am texting as well to relay a message from VP Leni. She would like to reach out to SP Sotto and Sen. Lacson and consult them regarding the possibility of uniting behind one candidate/one ticket come 2022,” read the SMS.

“She also says that the candidate need not be her as the victory and the unity of ticket for her is paramount,” the message continued.

The person also claimed that Robredo was supposedly willing to meet up with Sotto and Lacson “at their place of convenience.”

In a separate tweet, Sotto said he shared this to dismiss reports that he and Lacson were the ones who initiated to talk with Robredo.

“I had to post to dispel people from saying we initiated the talks,” he said in a separate tweet as response to a query from reporter Karen Davila.

Robredo’s camp previously said she is still mulling about running for national elections.

Lacson, meanwhile, had already declared his presidential bid with Sotto as his vice presidential bet.

Lacson’s meeting with Robredo 

In an interview with ANC, Lacson said he had met with the vice president to discuss a “unification” plan.

He did not provide other details, such as when the meeting took place and who initiated it. He only mentioned that Robredo “resisted” the idea of fielding one strong opposition candidate to go potentially against President Duterte’s daughter and former aide.

“The gist of the discussion was unification, put up a common candidate if possible against the administration. I offered her a sure unification effort or formula,” he said.

“She resisted. Hindi siya sold dun sa idea but it was a sure formula putting up at least between the two of us a common candidate. Unfortunately, she didn’t buy it,” he added.

Lacson then said that Robredo was “open to running.”

What the unification plan was about

Robredo said in her radio show that she could not accept the “unification” proposal that Lacson and Sotto drafted. Lacson, he said, wanted opposition candidates to file their certificates for candidacies first and then withdraw these to back the candidate who will perform best in the surveys.

Robredo said she will fight until the end if she had decided to run.

“Sa akin, simple, simple ‘yung dahilan ko sa pagtutol doon sa proposal. Sa akin, ‘pag nag-file ako, kailangan kong ituloy ang laban. ‘Pag nag-file ako, hindi ako puwedeng umatras kahit gaano pa kahirap kasi prinisinta ko na ‘yung sarili ko sa publiko eh,” Robredo said.

As of now, she also said her current focus is to address the gaps in the national government’s pandemic response, particularly in Metro Manila.

“The pandemic showed it is important to have a good government. It’s really a matter of life and death for us when government is not able to respond well,” Robredo said.

Responding to Robredo, Lacson said he respects her decision, but that it was her idea to have a unified opposition candidate in the first place.

“It was a sincere and selfless offer in support of her equally sincere efforts to have one common candidate against whoever will be the administration’s bet,” Lacson said in a statement posted on his website.

Sotto and Robredo
Senate President Tito Sotto and Vice President Leni Robredo. (Senate PRIB | Interaksyon, file)