Robredo spokesman to Trillanes: Don't tweet when 'you can always just reach out'
MANILA, Philippines — Private communication – not tweets – would help make clear the issues of former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV with Vice President Leni Robredo’s recent meetings with other political leaders.
This was asserted by Robredo’s spokesperson, Atty, Barry Guiterez, who also claimed being confused over Trillanes’ seeming preemption on her plans for 2022 even if the former lawmaker says he considers the Vice President the leader of the opposition.
Trillanes earlier raised concern about Robredo’s separate meetings with Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Gordon, who both have expressed intentions to run for president in next year’s polls.
Trillanes even warned the Vice President that she would not get his and the Magdalo group’s support if she gives way to Lacson.
Gutierrez denounced Trillanes’ apparent assumptions, calling it “premature.”
“If I may say so, Senator Trillanes’ concerns, you know, are better addressed with a text message rather than a tweet. If he had questions about kung ano anong pinag-usapan sa meeting, ibig sabihin ba nito ganito ganiyan, then he should have just reached out, ‘di ba,” Gutierrez said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
(If he had questions about what was discussed during the meeting, if that means anything or what, then he could have reached out, right?)
“He says he considers himself an ally. He has repeatedly said he considers the Vice President the leader of the opposition and that she should run and he will give way as president, and yet every time something like this happens, instead of reaching out to the VP or to anybody within the Liberal Party, he will immediately come up with this kind of declaration,” he added.
But Trillanes explained in a Facebook post the reason why he has been resorting to tweets. According to him, Robredo does not want to hold political meetings during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was surprised to find out that she already talked with Lacson and Gordon.
“Sa mga nagtatanong kung bakit ako nagtweet agad instead na makipagmeet kay VP Leni para magkaliwanagan, ito po ang dahilan: Simula January, ako/Magdalo, and later on through Tindig Pilipinas, ay nagrerequest ng meeting kay VP Leni para nga masimulan na ang preparation,” Trillanes said.
(To those who are asking why I resorted to tweeting instead of meeting VP Leni to clarify matters, this is the reason: Since January, I and Magdalo and later on through Tindig Pilipinas have been requesting a meeting with VP Leni to start preparations.)
“Subalit, AYAW NYA kaming imeet dahil kasalanan daw sa Diyos na pag-usapan ang 2022 elections habang may pandemya. Meron lang syang representative na pinapakausap sa akin. As to texting directly, for security reasons di rin ito pwedeng gawin. Tapos malalaman namin na sina Nonoy Andaya, Ping Lacson, at Gordon ay mineet nya…” he added.
(But she does not want to meet because it seems a sin to talk about the 2022 elections while in the middle of a pandemic. She sent out a representative who talked with me. As to texting directly, for security reasons this cannot be done. Only to know that Nonoy Andaya, Ping Lacson, and Gordon have met with her already.)
This is not the first time that Trillanes had a conflict with the Office of the Vice President. In May, Gutierrez also had to clarify that the Vice President had yet to confirm her candidacy for Camarines Sur’s gubernatorial post after Trillanes announced on social media that Robredo is no longer seeking the presidency.
Robredo’s spokesperson said that such remarks put the Vice President in a position that is not true.
“And the declaration actually puts the Vice President already in a particular position: ‘She’s withdrawing and we won’t be able to support her if she does.’ Come on! We’re nowhere near that,” he added.
But on whether Trillanes could still be considered an ally after all the ruckus, Gutierrez maintained a spot will always be open for the former senator, no matter what their differences are.
“You know, he has always been a valued ally, particularly in these last five years despite the fact that you know, in 2016, he actually ran against the Vice President. But you know, we’ve put that aside. We were able to work with him,” he said.
“But all we want—what I want to say to him right now is really, if you have concerns and we are allies, you can always just reach out. That’s the point,” he added.
Robredo and her Liberal Party (LP) have expressed openness to forming a coalition and fielding a single candidate in the 2022 presidential elections to have a chance against the administration-backed slate and the candidate that would be anointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Gutierrez in the past admitted that the opposition would be in for a hard uphill battle against the administration — proof of which are surveys showing that Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, still maintains a wide lead over other possible opposition candidates.