Vice President Leni Robredo should have studied the possibilities of Sen. Panfilo Lacson's "unification formula" for the 2022 elections first instead of rejecting it outright, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Monday.
Sotto, who is running for vice president with Lacson for president, made the remark after the vice president explained in her weekly radio program why she had to decline the untiy offer.
"Ping's offer was sincere and selfless. She was not supposed to reject right away and instead study first the possibilities," Sotto told reporters. "Outright rejection meant they had something else in mind at the outset."
Robredo on Sunday said she declined Lacson's unification proposal as it called for candidates to yield to the one who ranks high in surveys.
The vice president was holding consultations with potential 2022 contenders to come up with the "broadest possible unity" against the administration candidate.
"Ang proposal kasi ito: kaming mga nag-uusap-usap, magfa-file kaming lahat ng certificate of candidacy tapos mag-agree kami ng certain time before the elections na titignan namin kung sino yung pinakamalakas sa surveys, yun yung susuportahan namin tapos all the rest magwi-withdraw," she said.
Robredo said she was not agreeable to such a proposal because she didn't want to withdraw in the middle of the game if ever she decides to run for president.
"Kapag nag-file ako, kailangan kong ituloy ang laban. Kapag nag-file ako, hindi ako pwedeng umatras kahit gaano pa kahirap kasi prinesenta ko na yung sarili ko sa publiko," she said.
Lacson said he respects the vice president's decision to reject his "unification formula," saying 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."
Robredo earlier said the opposition must field a single presidential candidate, but she couldn't commit herself to be the standard bearer except to say that she remained "open" to running for president.