After declaring their team-up last week for the President and Vice President seats in the May 2022 polls, Vice President Leni Robredo and her running mate, senator Kiko Pangilinan has announced their Senate slate, naming a coalition of familiar names across the spectrum. Absent from the lineup, however, was Bayan Muna chair and former Makabayan bloc representative Neri Colmenares.
Named under the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket are former representative Teddy Baguilat Jr., former Vice President Jejomar Binay, senator Leila de Lima, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Sorsogon governor Chiz Escudero, senator Dick Gordon, senator Risa Hontiveros, lawyer Alex Lacson, senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, senator Joel Villanueva, and senator Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
A human rights lawyer by profession, Colmenares is also one of the convenors of 1Sambayan, the broad opposition group that had first nominated Robredo as their chosen candidate.
#WeWantNeri immediately trended on social media after the incumbent VP announced their senatorial lineup.
Netizens questioned whether the list of names truly represented an inclusive opposition with the exclusion of a progressive candidate.
Platform over personality. Who from the marginalized? #WeWantNeri— Kristina Conti (@chronikrissys) October 15, 2021
Neri Colmenares was the top senatoriable in 1Sambayan's survey, but 1Sambayan left it to the Liberal Party to decide who will be in Leni's senate line up, which then dropped Neri. Unity against tyranny daw, pero nilaglag ang kandidatong consistently anti-tiraniko. #WeWantNeri— angeri_aries #DuterteWakasan (@angeri_aries) October 15, 2021
#WeWantNeri because his body of work as a human rights lawyer, Congress Rep, AND ACTIVIST proves he deserves to be in the Senate. These are 2019 campaign mats (I'm not part of the 2022 campaign team.) In case kailangang matandaan ng "united opposition." #Halalan2022 pic.twitter.com/gqjxN2VAoj— katrinastuartsantiago (@radikalchick) October 15, 2021
All I can say is, Neri Colmenares has stood with us human rights workers and victims of human rights violations. My support for him stands—and, with him, we will continue fighting the urgent fight: to build the broadest unity against fascism, and no to another Marcos or Duterte.— Philip Jamilla (@pmjamilla) October 15, 2021
Robredo and Pangilinan named 11 senatorial candidates running under their ticket — leaving supporters wondering who will fill the 12th spot.
I hope the 12th spot goes to Neri Colmenares. #WeWantNeri— Scott Martin (@scottmarrtin) October 15, 2021
Neri Colmenares for your 12th, please Veep.— Kristoffer Pasion (@indiohistorian) October 15, 2021
In a press conference, Robredo said that they hope the candidate for their 12th spot would represent marginalized sectors, which could likely see Colmenares and labor leader Sonny Matula of the Federation of Free Workers battling it out for the last slot.
On Twitter, Colmenares said that he welcomed Robredo’s senatorial slate, and thanked 1Sambayan for being included in their list of senate bets.
Vice President Leni Robredo’s decision on who to include in her senatorial slate is her prerogative as the Presidential candidate. My non-inclusion in her slate at this time is based on what she thinks is best for the interest of her candidacy. (1/5)— Neri Colmenares (@ColmenaresPH) October 15, 2021
Colmenares also reiterated that the Makabayan bloc has always relied on the people for their support of progressive and pro-people candidates, employing their 3.5 million voter base and national campaign machinery.
My resolve to run for the Senate is based on the need to give the poor and marginalized a strong voice in the legislature. We in Makabayan have always relied on the support of various groups and the people for progressive and pro-people independent candidates like me. (3/5)— Neri Colmenares (@ColmenaresPH) October 15, 2021
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. (5/5)— Neri Colmenares (@ColmenaresPH) October 15, 2021