Do Bicolanos favor Leni Robredo’s VP bid?
MANILA, Philippines - As Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo announced her bid for the vice presidency on Monday, October 5, Bicolanos become more divided on who to vote for in the position in 2016.
Dr Vasil Victoria, a faculty member of the Ateneo de Naga University (ADNU), expressed his disappointment in Robredo’s announcement, saying it would divide the Bicol region.
“She divided the Bicolanos. I’m sure that a non-Bicolano would become vice president because there are now 3 Bicolanos vying for the position. They should’ve just teamed up and help the region,” Victoria added.
Aside from Robredo, who is the running mate of the ruling Liberal Party’s (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas, 3 other senators from the region announced their plans to run for the vice presidency - Antonio Trillanes IV, Gringo Honasan, and Chiz Escudero, who teamed up with independent presidential candidate Grace Poe. (READ: Bicol a ‘cradle’ of VP candidates)
“If people are saying that Grace Poe is not yet ripe to lead the country, Robredo is no different. I hope she followed her children and declined LP’s offer,” Victoria said.
Political realignment in Bicol
Meanwhile, an ice cream vendor said how he did not see Robredo winning over Escudero, who have more experience in the senate. He said Robredo could have been more suited to run as governor of Camarines Sur to end the political dynasty there.
Robredo’s decision to run for a national post already left a crucial elective post in Bicol and political realignments have already started in the region.
Governor Miguel “Migs” Luis Villafuerte and his father, former Governor Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, of the Nacionalista Party were hoping to coalesce with LP, which Robredo chairs in the region, to prevent his grandfather former Representative Luis Villafuerte Sr from winning the district seat.
The Villafuertes had a falling out with Villafuerte Sr during the 2013 elections, where the old man Villafuerte was challenged by his grandson Miguel. Villafuerte Sr also fielded his wife against Robredo in the congressional race in the 3rd district.
Emmanuel Mijares, President of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) - Camarines Sur chapter, said Robredo is in the wrong slate, given all the controversies tagged with the political party.
“There were still so much corruption during this administration, and the reality on the ground is that more people are poor despite the economic numbers. She could do so much if she wouldn’t run under LP,” Mijares said.
Good governance legacy
But some Bicolanos still believe in Robredo and that of her husband’s legacy in the region. Leni’s husband, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, was mayor of Naga City for 6 terms, known for his good governance initiatives.
Christian Vivero, a student of ADNU, pointed out that Leni’s character far outweighs her experience and this should be what the public should consider.
Some of Robredo’s Bicolano supporters also took to social media their sentiments.
"Leni Robredo" lang tlaga ang nagmamahal sa bicolano sa lahat n kumakadidato VP ntga bicol daw makikata nyo yan— ariel biluno (@ariel_biluno) October 5, 2015
Leni Robredo for VP!.. Eyo na ini inaalat ko :D uwi talaga ako ng bicol para bumoto hehe— crisnaa (@margiecasilao) October 5, 2015
I say YES to LENI ROBREDO not because she's a Bicolana like me but because she's a woman of character and integrity. #LabanLeni— Sonia Marie Bacares (@smbacs) October 5, 2015
Leni Robredo axed the political dynasty in Cam Sur and brought back the trust and confidence in Bicol Politics. ;-)'— Jerson P. Miranda (@wysiwyg027) October 5, 2015
In 2016, Bicolanos will decide – who among the 4 candidates from their region will they vote for vice president? Whether Robredo will get the Bicol vote in 2016 is yet to be seen. – Rappler.com
Dessa Broncate is a student journalist from the Ateneo de Naga University. She writes for The Pillars, the official student publication of the university.