|ROXAS-ROBREDO TEAM. President Arroyo seems overjoyed as Congresswoman Leni Robredo (right) decided to team up with LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas for the 1016 elections.
By ALFRED GABOT and CLAIRE MORALES TRUE
SAN JUAN CITY (Philippines Today) — Lawyer and neophyte Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo of Camarines Sur has accepted the challenge of the administration Liberal Party (LP) to be its candidate for vice president in tandem with presidential candidate, former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II.
Robredo’s decision which she announced at an LP gathering at Club Filipino in San Juan City on October 5 virtually enlivened the LP bandwagon and triggered Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to decide to run for vice president as an independent candidate and not in tandem with Vice President Jejomar Binay as earlier reported.
Meanwhile, a week before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy before the Commission on Elections, Rep. Manny Pacquiao, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino and TESDA Secretary General Joel Villanueva announced they are running for senator in 2016.
But on October 7, Tolentino, embroiled in a controversy involving the alleged lewd show of the Playgirls in the Liberal Party event and birthday celebration of Rep. Benjamin Agarao in Laguna, resigned as chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and withdrew from the senate race.
Also withdrawing from the senate race is Rep. Mark Villar of Las Pinas City, son of incumbent Senator Cynthia Villar and former Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. The lady senator reportedly disuaded her son from running for senator that would make them mother and son in the Senate. The young Villar will instead run for reelection.
While the Tolentino and Villar dropped their Senate bids, former senator Panfilo Lacson was reported to have been adopted as guest candidate for senator by the Liberal Party (LP) after a meeting with Roxas and party leaders.
The LP is also considering in the Senate slate Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista, Manila Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso, who is known as Isko Moreno, PhilHealth director Risa Hontiveros, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) general manager and chief operating officer Mark Lapid, and Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares.
Pacquiao has not announced which party he will support but reports indicated he could also be a guest candidate of LP and maybe even other parties.
Pacquiao vowed to retire from boxing when elected as senator and work for lower income tax for Filipinos and increase in salaries and concentrate his work as senator if he is elected. Several surveys indicated Pacquiao, who is identified with UNA, has good chance to win in the senate race, prompting the LP to court him to their slate
As Marcos reached out to another probable presidential candidate, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Binay and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party tapped Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan, an EDSA Revolution hero, as UNA’s vice presidential candidate.
Robredo, Marcos and Honasan’s candidacy makes the race for the country’s second highest position crowded but exciting as Sens. Francis Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV earlier announced they were also running for vice president. Escudero is the vice president of presidential bet Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is leading the surveys.
This makes four candidates for vice president – Robredo and Honasan of Camarines Sur, Escudero of Sorsogon and Trillanes of Albay – from the Bicol region with Cayetano’s wife claiming also to be a Bicolana, which puts Marcos, the only candidate from the Ilocos and Northern Luzon which has more voters than Bicol, to a possible advantage.
President Aquino thanked Robredo for accepting the challenge. The President also thanked Roxas for sacrifices the latter’s made in 2009 when he gave up his ambition to run for president after clamor for Aquino to run blossomed following the death of former President Corazon Aquino.
”Mar, you don’t know how to trumpet your contributions. Let me mention that in 2009 Mar made a great sacrifice to keep the coalition whole and to ensure that the nearly a decade of abuse of the previous administration would come to an end,” the President said.
“Kaya matapos po nang malalim na pag-iisip, malawak na konsultasyon, at sobrang taimtim na dalangin – buong puso, buong pananampalataya at buong tapat ko pong tinatanggap ang hamon na tumakbo bilang pangalawang pangulo ni Mar Roxas,” said Robredo, widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, in her acceptance speech at the historic Club Filipino.
“Ibinibigay ko po ang aking sarili nang buong-buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa inyong mga naka-tsinelas na nasa labas, nasa ibaba at nasa laylayan ng lipunan,” she added.
She admitted that she had sleepless nights and need to convince first her children, Aika, Jillian and Tricia to allow her to run to a higher position.
She said in her speech, that the turning point on how she was convince to run as Roxas’ Vice President are the words of her husband that she must not stop helping underprivilege and common people because these represents the biggest number of Filipinos.
“Sa tagal nga po ng prosesong pinagdaanan upang makapagdesisyon, ang kantiyaw na po sa akin ng iba sa inyo, nagpa-pabebe na lang daw po ako,” she noted.
“Noong una pong lumitaw ang pangalan ko na isa sa naiisip na puwedeng maging kasama ni Sec. Mar sa laban na ito, aaminin ko po na ang una kong tanong sa sarili ko, Bakit ako? Sa dinami-rami ng puwedeng pagpilian, bakit ako pa? Dalawampu’t limang taon po kaming mag-asawa ni Jesse at sa matagal naming pagsasama, siya lamang parati ang nasa harap – habang ako ay nasa likod niya, nasasandalan niya – kuntento at lubos na sumusuporta.Sa amin pong mga agam-agam, tinatanong po namin ng aking mga anak kung ano kaya ang gagawin ni Jesse kung siya ang nalalagay sa ganitong pagsubok. Alam po namin agad ang kasagutan,” she pointed out.
She recalled that before she became a lawyer, she attended night classes to be able to attend to the needs of her husband and her children.
Robredo pointed out that the straight path of her husband who became a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee became her inspiration as she decided to help the marginalized who cannot afford to hire lawyers to seek justice.
As a proud wife of Jesse, she said that her husband cannot say no or turn back to anyone who seek help and never go to bed until after he is finish and call it a day.
The legacy that her husband left is what she want to continue, that is why she accepted another challenge of her life which was never part of her dreams.
“Magsasakripisyo, ibibigay ang lahat gaya ng pagbigay niya ng kanyang buhay noong siya ay naglilingkod pa para sa bayan. Kung nahaharap po siya sa tanong na kung bayan o sarili, malinaw po sa aming mag-iina kung ano ang magiging sagot niya,” she stressed her knowledge..
She vowed that if given a chance to be elected as Vice President, she will do her best to serve the Filipino people to the best as she can.
”Ipinaglaban ko po ang karapatan ng mga nakatsinelas, iyong mga nasa ibaba, iyong nasa labas, at nasa laylayan ng ating lipunan,” she emphasized.
— Senators Trillanes IV and Escudero welcomed the entry of fellow Bicolano lawmaker Rep. Leni Robredo in the race for vice president in the 2016 elections.
”We welcome the entry of Cong. Leni Robredo (Camarines Sur) into the VP race. She is not only a highly qualified candidate but also a very gracious lady that has sacrificed a lot for our country,” Trillanes, the first to announce vice presidential bid from Albay, said.
Escudero, running mate of Senator Grace Poe, described Leni Robredo “as qualified and has every right to offer herself for higher office.”
”I wish her well and I look forward to exchanging views and platforms that will serve the best interests of our country and people with her and the others who have expressed their intention to run for higher office,” Escudero from Sorsogon said.
Senator Honasan, another senator from Bicol, is being groomed by Vice President Jejomar Binay to be his running mate.
”Bicol is now the cradle of VP candidates,” Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said.
”If Gringo will join the fray, Leni will be the fourth Bicolano to throw her hat into the vice presidential ring. Batangueno Sonny Trillanes’ mom is from Bicol,” he said.
LEGAZPI CITY (PNA) — Six out of ten Albayanos claim Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is the “woman to beat” among the four Bicolanos aspiring for the vice presidential post.
Majority of those interviewed by the Philippines News Agency said they welcome Robredo’s decision to be the running mate of Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party presidential standard bearer.
Several others expressed doubts, however, that she would win over other Bicolano aspirants who are either more experienced, moneyed or have political networks.
“Among the Bicolano vice presidential bets. Rep. Leni lives and symbolizes everything that is good and honorable in being a Bicolano. Personal accounts of ordinary people in the region have been consistent that Leni is Bicolandia’s overwhelming choice. As her colleague in the House of Representatives, I am the least surprised by this well spring of support,” Rep. Grex Lagman (LP, Albay 1st Dist.) said in a phone interview,
Dr. Ofelia Samar Sy said in a text message, “She is Bicol’s greatest contribution to our country’s political system’s booming reputation. She is not just the typical David defeating Goliath during her successful congressional bid against a political kingpin, but she is an extraordinary down-to-earth person who is not a politician but a true public servant.”
She said Leni would truly stand out among the five vice-presidentiables, three of whom are from Bicol and one has a wife who is also from Bicol.
“She is truly an exemplary rose among the thorns. She is incredibly hardworking, intelligent and pro-poor. She takes ten-hour bus rides even when plane rides are more convenient. She is the only congressman I know who goes to the most remote areas regularly all year-round and allows true people’s participation,” Sy said.
Definitely, she added, Robredo will contribute immensely to Roxas’ campaign, as people will easily spot a true gem in her.
“I am seeing an easy win for her, which is indeed a victory for our country,” Sy added.
Irene Solmirano, Entrepinay Legazpi City Chapter president, said Robredo’s decision to be the vice presidential running mate of Mar Roxas was, indeed, a hard one.
“She would be sacrificing her personal and family interests. But the challenge of service, quality and sincere one, to the country and her fellow Filipinos, especially those wearing ‘tsinelas’ and are at the ‘laylayan’, is worth facing — bravely. Leni has the heart of a mother, the untiring spirit of a head of the family, the ability and charisma to win hearts and the caring and loving eye for one’s neighbor as taught by God,” she said.
The civil society organization leader said Robredo will be the country’s next vice president, an unblemished one, adding, “and, who knows, after six years, we will have the first Bicolano president — and a woman at that!”
Father Jovic Lobrigo said “It is a welcome development when a non-trapo and reluctant candidate with solid qualifications, both personal and professional, comes forward. I’m sure the Filipino electorates will support her.”
Jose Briones, a tourism officer, said in spite of her being young in politics, Robredo will be able to carry on easily as a vice president in case she gets elected.
“Her knowledge as a lawyer and the experiences she learned from her late husband, Secretary Jesse Robredo, as city mayor of Naga, who was hailed as an outstanding leader in government service, would be sufficient in making her get inspired in paving the direction of her political career smoothly and easily,” Briones said.