QUEZON CITY — Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo is still looking at the possibility of running in the 2022 presidential elections, but the goal of uniting the opposition comes first.

This was stressed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, vice chairman of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), adding he disagreed with former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s statement that Robredo should not have talked to Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon who have declared they are considering running for president in 2022.

Drilon said Robredo is still looking at a possible presidential run next year.

“If she becomes the most viable candidate, she will ask the others to come around and support her because the objective is to have a united front. So, the assessment that she has given up is totally wrong and baseless,” he added.

Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso is joining Aksyon Demokratiko, the party founded by the late Senator Raul Roco, in what observers said could be a preparation for a possible presidential run. It was rumored that Sen. Grace Poe will team up with Domagoso in the 2022 elections.

This as Sen. Win Gatchalian said he may run for vice president in tandem with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in case she gets him as runningmate.

Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagkakaisa (HNP) party, meanwhile, said it will not support a Duterte-Duterte ticket of the daughter-father tandem.

In another development, the administration party PDP-Laban headed by the Alfonso Cusi wing is pushed a ticket composed of Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go for president with President Rodrigo Duterte for vice president.

The PDP-Laban wing is also considering Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, a possible presidential contender, as its number one nominee for Senator. Pacquiao and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel do not recognize the Cusi wing of the PDP-Laban which was founded by Pimentel’s father, the late Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

Robredo has said she is holding out on making a decision about her plans for the 2022 polls as she remains focused on her office’s COVID-19 response.

Opposition group 1Sambayan headed by retired Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said it supports Robredo’s move to meet with potential 2022 presidential candidates Senators Lacson and Gordon.

Carpio-Morales described Robredo’s move as “very good” because she believes Robredo is trying to unite the opposition.

“It would synchronize with the plan of the Sambayan to have just one set of candidates to go against the candidates of the president and his allies,” Morales said, adding the meetings don’t necessarily mean the vice president is already aligning with them.

Meanwhile, Senators Lacson and Sotto put off their candidacy’s official launch originally set for August 4 due to the dreaded Delta variant.

In another development, former Senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. said “solid support” is the one thing that could convince him to run for president in next year’s polls.

“The usual thing — if there is solid support for you. A presidential campaign is not run by itself… Iyon ang unang tignan (That is the first thing to look at),” Marcos said in the government’s Laging Handa briefing when asked about what would make him seek the presidency in the upcoming elections.

Marcos ranked third among possible 2022 presidential bets behind Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, based on the Pulse Asia survey conducted in June. But Marcos said he is skeptical of these polls.

For now, Marcos said he is still weighing his options, since the filing of certificates of candidacy is still two months away.

Marcos ran for vice president in 2016 but lost to  Robredo. He filed an election protest against Robredo, but the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed it.

Both Lacson and Sotto are in their third term as senators. Lacson, former Philippine National Police chief, is taking another shot at the presidency after running in the 2004 national elections as an independent candidate. He recently took oath as chairman of the Partido Reforma once headed by former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa.

Sotto, an actor-turned-politician, is seeking higher office for the first time after nearly two decades as lawmaker. He is chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, one of the major political parties in the country.