Sonny Matula gets 12th spot in Robredo's senatorial slate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22)— Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday announced labor leader and lawyer Sonny Matula will complete her senatorial slate for the 2022 polls.

"Ikinagagalak ko ngayong ihayag: Isinusulong ko para sa Senador si Attorney Sonny Matula," Robredo said in a statement on Friday.

[Translation: I am pleased to announce: I am endorsing Attorney Sonny Matula for senator.]

Robredo said there have been many considerations and discussions on who will grab the 12th spot in her Senate lineup.

In choosing Matula, Robredo cited the lawyer's track record — especially with regards to his advocacies, and fighting for the rights of the labor sector.

The Vice President also believes that Matula will "fight for what is right and just."

"Malinaw sa mga usapan namin kung nasaan ang puso ni Attorney Sonny Matula. Para sa kaniya, ang pakikianib sa atin ay hindi isang transaksyon, kundi tungkulin," Robredo said.

[Translation: It was clear in our conversation where Attorney Sonny Matula's heart is. For him, joining us is not a transaction, but a duty.]

Earlier this month, Robredo bared 11 personalities that she and running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan will be endorsing in next year's elections.

Matula and fellow progressive leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna were among those considered for the last spot.

Matula grateful for Robredo's endorsement

Matula said he is honored to have been included in Robredo's senatorial ticket. He also underscored the importance of having a representative of the workers in the upper chamber.

He told CNN Philippines that his inclusion in what he labeled as a "mainstream political coalition" would be a huge help for the sector.

"Nagpapasalamat kami kay VP Leni na napagbigyan 'yung mga manggagawa, for the first time, palagay ko, 'yung mga manggagawa, nabigyan ng break," Matula said.

[Translation: We thank VP Leni because the workers, for the first time I think, are given a break.]

Matula added that Robredo may have had a hard time picking between him and Colmenares, whom he described as a "very qualified" aspirant.

Colmenares respects Robredo's decision

For his part, Colmenares said he respects Robredo's decision, noting that his non-inclusion "does not preclude us from continuing engagement and cooperation with her campaign on urgent issues that concern our people."

"The most urgent of these issues is preventing a Marcos restoration and a Duterte extension amid the continuing pandemic and the worsening crisis in the country," Colmenares said in a statement. "[L]et us not lose sight of the bigger fight before us."