Makabayan bloc willing to join Robredo-led opposition

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc are ready to join the opposition group that Vice President Leni Robredo will lead.

ACT Teachers Party-list Representative Antonio Tinio on Thursday said Robredo's decision to lead the opposition is a "positive development."

"Positive development yun. Finally, titindig na bilang opposition si Vice President Robredo. It's about time na tumindig siya bilang oposisyon," he said.

[It's a positive development. Finally the Vice President will stand as an opposition. It's about time that she stands as an opposition."]

Tinio assured that his group is open to join efforts to fight the "anti-citizens and anti-poor policies of the Duterte administration."

He added that those who oppose the anti-poor and anti-people agenda of the administration should unite, especially now that Malacañang is pushing to establish a dictatorial regime.

"Kailangan may malakas na oposisyon dito. Kami sa Makabayan ay handang makiisa sa lahat ng pwersa na handang lumaban dito," he said.

[There has to be a strong opposition. We at Makabayan are ready to unite with all forces that are ready to fight."]

Makabayan bloc is a group of lawmakers from a coalition of leftist political groups including Bayan Muna, GABRIELA, ACT Teachers, Anakpawis, and Kabataan. The coalition is also backed by activist groups representing different sectors. 

According to Tinio, President Rodrigo Duterte has always treated Robredo as part of the opposition at the start of the administration.

"Sa simula pa lang ng administrasyong ito, trinato na siya bilang opposition ni Pangulong Duterte. Kung matatandaan natin diba tinanggal sya sa gabinete," he added.

[President Duterte has always treated Robredo as an opposition even at the start of the administration. If we could remember she was kicked out of the Cabinet.]

With Duterte's recent pronouncements, Tinio said it is now clear that the administration is also planning to remove Robredo from her post the same way it did in ousting former Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.

"Ngayon, malinaw naman na yung mga moves ng administration na tanggalin siya bilang bise presidente in the same way na kumilos para tanggalin si Chief Justice Sereno tapos tinangka rin si Ombudsman Carpio Morales," he added.

["Now it is clear that the administration is planning to remove her as vice president in the same way it ousted Chief Justice (Lourdes) Sereno."]

Duterte on Tuesday called Robredo "incompetent," saying that he is not going to step down to make her assume the country's presidency. This strong statement came after the Vice President announced her plan to form and lead an opposition group.

"Kung siya mag-Presidente [If she will become President]? Look, I will not resign because it will make her President. My resignation is addressed to the people para makapili sila ng gusto nila [so they can choose who they want]. Siya, I don't think she will ever be ready to govern a country. Reason? Incompetence," Duterte said in an interview.