LABOR LEADER Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman has accepted the nomination of a socialist political party for him to run for president next year.
“Tinatanggap ko ang hamon niyo (I accept your challenge),” Mr. de Guzman said during the national convention of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) on Tuesday.
The labor activist vowed that should he win, he will introduce a style of leadership different from that of President Rodrigo R. Duterte as well as change the current political system in the country.
Mr. de Guzman ran for senator in the 2019 midterm election but lost. His candidacy was backed by a coalition of labor groups, which also supported the 2019 senatorial run of former party-list representative Neri J. Colmenares and veteran unionists Jose Sonny G. Matula, Ernesto Arellano, and Allan Montano.
In a phone interview with BusinessWorld, PLM Chairman Sonny Melencio said the presidential run of Mr. de Guzman is backed by major labor groups that are calling for an end to contractualization in the Philippines.
“All of the candidates who declared a presidential run do not represent the true opposition fighting for an end to Duterte’s regime,” Mr. Melencio said in Filipino.
“Even if we are starting with low resources, we know that this is an opportune time to present our program,” he said.
“This is an opportunity because there is a vacuum in the opposition leadership. We want to get in that vacuum and present our cause.”
Mr. Melencio also said that the camp of Mr. de Guzman is still open to having talks with Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo, who he said “did not really stand as an opposition icon.”
“We want someone to really present an alternative program to this Dutertismo,” the PLM official said.
“If she runs, we are still open to talking with her. But we need to know her platform first. We need to know what she really wants to do. That is the main question until now,” he said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza