VICE President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has no plans to seek reelection or even run for President.
In a television interview, Robredo said winning the vice presidency was already a privilege and that she was committed to helping the poor through her anti-poverty program dubbed “Angat Buhay.”
“The experience [of campaigning on a national scale]was actually surreal. If you remember, I was a very reluctant candidate. I jumped in very late in the game. But you know, everything happened so fast. It was fun. It was nothing that I planned for, but the experience was really…it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing in the sense that I never thought I’d be doing it, but I did,” Robredo told CNN Philippines.
“And after the experience, I was telling myself, I don’t think I’m ever going to do it again. I don’t have any political ambition. I am okay with my position, I would do what I have to do,” Robredo added.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Robredo will serve as vice president until June 30, 2022. The 1987 Charter allows Robredo to run anew for vice president or for president.
Robredo, chairman of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party, said the vice presidency gave her a platform where she could make a difference.
“Even before I joined politics, I was very much involved in helping the marginalized. I’ve been working with different sectors—farmers, fisherfolk, the urban poor—and I think the Office [of the Vice President]is many steps further from what I have been doing before, in the sense that you can make things happen,” Robredo said.
“It is a privilege to be in this position. Going around the country to meet these people, you can’t help but be thankful that you are given the privilege…the position where you can help them. It doesn’t take too much from us to go there and assure them that they have not been forgotten by government,” she added.
Robredo was appointed as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council by President Duterte in July 2016.
She resigned in December 2016 after the President barred her from attending Cabinet meetings.The President accused Robredo of plotting his ouster, which the vice president denied.
Robredo conceded that she would have made more impact as a Cabinet official.
“Of course, I could have made more things happen as part of the administration because the big difference is the agencies are there to help us out. But you know, I can’t allow the limitations to stifle us from what we are doing. As far as I am concerned, whatever is there, let’s make the most out of it. We soldier on,” Robredo said.
“What happened was unfortunate, but we only have six years. If something did not work out, then we have to look for other ways to be of help,” Robredo added.