MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Benigno Aquino III warned critics against dragging the Robredo children into dirty politics as the 2016 election heats up, saying this issue is “personal” to him.
“Sa mga katunggaling sanay sa trapong pulitika, baka ngayon pa lang gusto nilang guluhin si Leni [at] pahirapan ang mga anak,” Aquino said in a speech on Monday, October 5, after Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo accepted the challenge to run for vice president under the Liberal Party. “Personalan na tayo kung doon kayo hahantong.” (To critics used to traditional politics, you may be thinking now of demolishing Leni and include her children. That’s already personal to me.)
Aquino noted that after Jesse Robredo’s death, “dumami ang foster father ng mga batang ito.” (Many foster fathers came out for them.)
The President took time last week to persuade Robredo and her 3 daughters – Aika, Tricia, Jillian – to accept his and Manuel Roxas II’s offer for her to run for vice president. The kids were the most reluctant to the offer.
In her speech, Robredo acknowledged how difficult it has been for them – the toughest period that they have had to deal with since the death of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo in 2012. (READ: Leni Robredo: I can’t refuse call to serve).
When her name was first floated as a possible running mate of Roxas, Robredo resisted the thought, saying there were others more deserving.
The neophyte lawmaker said she’s always lived a low-key life as a quiet supporter of her husband Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in 2012 when he was interior secretary. (READ: Low-key political wife goes national)
Aquino gave them assurances that he will do everything to make sure they will not feel alone, “na hindi kayo nag-iisa.”
WATCH LIVESTREAM: Robredo’s proclamation
Sources told Rappler that Aquino himself handpicked his cousin, Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino to run her campaign. (READ: Bam Aquino is Robredo’s campaign manager)
The President said the ruling party’s slate will be complete by Friday, October 9, when the party announces its 12-person senatorial slate. “While there are those having trouble putting together their coalitions, we are whole,” he said in Filipino.
Aquino and Roxas first asked Senator Grace Poe to be the party’s vice president. But she decided to run for president heself. – Rappler.com