LIBERAL Party presidential candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd and his running mate, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, are open to welcome the support of former “foes” who are willing to be redeemed, the Palace said Saturday.
Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon 3rd was referring to the endorsement made by Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda of Roxas and Robredo in San Fernando City, Pampanga this week.
Pineda, a former ally of ex-President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, is the wife of jueteng lord Bong Pineda. Jueteng is an illegal numbers game.
The Pineda couple’s son, Dennis, is Pampanga’s Vice Governor and has also backed the Roxas-Robredo tandem.
Quezon said that while Governor Pineda was not an administration ally until this year, the Aquino Administration did not deprive Pampanga of projects, something that Pineda also acknowledged during her endorsement of the Roxas-Robredo tandem.
Pineda credited the Aquino administration for the inclusion of 50,000 families in Pampanga in the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or the Conditional Cash Transfer program for the poor, with a P300 million budget for PhilHealth services benefiting 136,000 families in the last three years, as well as infrastructure programs including road projects.
“The President has already said that regardless of your political affiliation, if you are going to join his good governance platform and show that you are adhering to its principles, then redemption is open to anyone,” Quezon said in a radio interview.
Pampanga has 1.28 million registered voters.
“If you stand by good governance and you have had a change of heart…that you are willing to subscribe to putting the people first, then you should welcome these additions to the coalition,” Quezon added.
Robredo’s husband Jesse, then Naga City mayor, founded Kaya Natin, a movement for good governance in July 2008, alongside then Pampanga governor Ed Panlilio and Isabela governor Grace Padaca.
Panlilio is a bitter rival of the Pinedas in Pampanga and a staunch critic of jueteng.
He beat Pineda for the Pampanga governorship in 2007, only to be defeated in his reelection bid three years later.