After a long and winding courtship, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, finally said yes to an offer for her to become the running mate of Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd.
With her daughters — Aika, Tricia and Jillian — in the audience, the 51-year-old Robredo looked very confident as she accepted the LP draft.
“After thinking long and hard, extensive consultation and devotion in prayer, I wholeheartedly, in utmost faith and honesty, accept the challenge of being the Vice President of Secretary Mar Roxas,” she said before a thunderous applause at the packed main hall of the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila).
“Amid our doubts, we have asked ourselves what would Jesse do if he was in this position. We already know the answer. No matter how tough it is, he won’t turn his back on anybody who would need his help…he won’t sleep until everything that needs to be done for our people is done,” she added.
Robredo, a lawyer and widow of good governance icon Jesse Robredo, was thrust into politics after the untimely death of her husband who was killed in a plane crash in 2012.
She successfully contested the congressional seat of Camarines Sur’s 2nd district in the 2013 elections, defeating newspaper columnist and former Monetary Board member Nelly Favis Villafuerte.
A faction in the LP pushed Robredo’s candidacy after talks between President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Roxas and the party’s original choice for vice president, Sen. Grace Poe, ended in a deadlock.
Robredo rejected the idea, saying she’s inexperienced for the position and also cited her children’s vehement opposition.
“I thank my family, especially my three daughters, for giving me their blessing. Hinding hindi po ako susulong sa laban na ito kung hindi ko sila kasama (I won’t fight this fight without them with me),” the Congresswoman pointed out.
“The family is the summary of me and my husband’s character of being honest public servants, and during the trying times our family is also the one that serves as our inspiration,” she added.
She then stressed that she will try her best to live up to her husband’s legacy of honest governance, citing her experience as a lawyer for the Public Attorney’s Office and the non government organization dubbed as the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal, both which provides free legal services to the poor, as well as the farmers, fisherfolk, laborers, women, youth and indigenous people.
“Ipinapangako ko po, ibibigay ko po ang aking sarili sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na po roon sa mga naka tsinelas, nasa labas, nasa laylayan ng ating lipunan (I promise you, I will offer myself to the people, especially those in slippers, those who are left behind, those who are barely making it in our society),” she said.
“I am not Jesse. But when he died, it is clear to us, myself and our daughters, that he is depending on us, to the best of our abilities, to try to make the sacrifice, just like how he sacrificed himself to stir progress in our country,” she added.
President Aquino in his speech vowed to see victory for Liberal Party (LP) bets in next year’s elections.
In his speech during the LP convention at the historic Club Filipino in San Juan City, Aquino reminded his colleagues to remain vigilant against the “game plan” of other candidates from the opposition.
“Don’t forget that it’s in our opponents’ game plan to belittle what our administration has achieved. Others will make statements claiming credit for what we worked hard for,” the President said in Filipino.
Aquino also announced that the Senate slate of the LP will be made known on Friday, a few days before the start of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC).
The President also warned his critics against bashing Robredo whom he likened to his own mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.
“Just a reminder to our rivals who are used to traditional politics. You might be thinking of wreaking havoc on Leni’s candidacy and put her children in trouble … I will take this personally if it comes to this,” Aquino said.