Vice President Leni Robredo has been chosen by the opposition coalition 1Sambayan as its presidential candidate for the May 2022 elections.

“We expect to meet with her and explain to her why we have chosen her. We hope that she will accept the challenge,” he said.

In a statement issued shortly after 1Sambayan’s announcement, Robredo thanked the coalition for the endorsement and asked the Filipino people to pray with her so that “our decision will be what is best for our country.”

Carpio said Robredo was chosen through a selection process that included a survey among 1Sambayan members and coalition partners, as well as an assessment of her track record, competence, integrity, patriotism, vision for the country and winnability.

He said Robredo emerged as the top choice after consultations with coalition partners and chapter members.

“We therefore ask VP Leni to accept our endorsement to lead the Filipino people in this difficult time in our history,” Carpio said.

“We believe VP Leni best embodies the ideals we all want in a leader for our country and the best person to lead an opposition Unity Ticket in next year’s presidential election.”

If Robredo accepts the endorsement, 1Sambayan will help her select her running mate and 12 senatorial bets, Carpio said.

If she declines, Carpio said they would reconvene “to decide what to do.” He, however, said Robredo rejecting the nomination is a “remote possibility.”

Robredo has yet to categorically bare her plans for the 2022 elections. According to her spokesperson Ibarra Gutierrez on Wednesday, running for another term as vice president remains an option for her.

Carpio also said the “unity talks” with other political personalities would continue despite 1Sambayan’s endorsement of Robredo.

“But the unity talks will now be led by VP Leni if she accepts the nomination of 1Sambayan,” he said.

1Sambayan convenors led by Carpio had separate meetings with Senator Manny Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, and former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV prior to Thursday’s announcement.

Pacquiao and Moreno have already announced that they will be running for president, while Trillanes said he would push through with his Palace run should Robredo fail to decide by October 8, the last day of filing of candidacy papers.

Robredo ranked sixth among potential presidential candidates in a poll conducted by independent survey firm Pulse Asia from September 6 to 11.

Carpio indicated they were not bothered by Robredo’s low ranking at this point.

“The surveys by Pulse Asia, SWS, and the others, at this time of the year, are not reflective of actual results. If you look at all the presidential elections, those who led in the surveys at this time of the year miserably lost in the election,” he said.

“You cannot predict based on the surveys alone who will emerge as the winner in May 2022.”

In her radio program on September 19, Robredo said that the opposition must serve the “best interest of the country” in fielding candidates for 2022.

Robredo also said she is more than prepared if she is chosen to be the opposition’s “unity candidate.”

Robredo has said she doesn’t want a continuation of the Duterte regime and for the Marcoses — possibly through former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — to return to power. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News