The Canadian ambassador to the Philippines has held a virtual meeting with one of the staunchest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Peter MacArthur posted on social media on October 11 that he had an “extended conversation” with former senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.
MacArthur stated that he “gained new insights” regarding “good governance” in the Philippines during his chat with Trillanes.
The Canadian envoy also noted in his post on Twitter that Trillanes has announced his candidacy for the Philippine Senate in the May 9, 2022 election.
Trillanes, for his part, reposted MacArthur’s post on his own Twitter account.
Trillanes is an ally of Vice President Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, who is one of five major candidates for president in next year’s election.
The four other contenders are former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Senators Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, and Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso.
Like Trillanes, Robredo is a critic of the Duterte administration.
If elected, Robredo would become the country's third woman president after the late Corazon Aquino and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Various Philippine media reports note that Robredo had been pushing to unify the political opposition to increase the chances of winning against whoever the Duterte administration will field.
However, talks have collapsed.
Political parties have until November 15 to substitute candidates.
There is much speculation about plans by Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Duterte-Carpio has been the consistent frontrunner in opinion polls about preferred presidential candidates.
Duterte-Carpo recently declared that she is not running for president, and she has filed a certificate of candidacy for another term as mayor of the city of Davao.
Unless either or both Robredo and Marcos Jr. withdraw, this will be the second time that they will face each other in an election.
Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos Jr. in the 2016 election for vice president.
Robredo declared her intention to run for president on October 7.
“My mind is made up. We need to free ourselves from what is happening in our country today. I will fight, we will fight,” the vice president said in Tagalog.
“The road that led me to this day has been long. I did not plan to run. I considered returning to my province, where many are waiting for me to bring about change,” Robredo also said in the native language.
Trillanes is a product of the Philippine Military Academy. He joined the Philippine Navy and later figured in military mutinies against the government of then President Arroyo.
Trillanes served as senator from 2007 to 2019. He ran for vice president in 2016.