Robredo urges voters: 2019 polls chance to ‘make things right’

Mara Cepeda
'Ngayon pong halalan na darating, pagkakataon para iwasto natin lahat,' says Vice President Leni Robredo in pushing for the opposition's 8 Senate bets

THE OPPOSITION. Vice President Leni Robredo (middle, in white) together with the Oposisyon Koalisyon's 8 senatorial bets and other key opposition figures. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, October 24, urged voters to support the entire 8-member opposition senatorial ticket, saying next year’s elections would be a chance for them to “correct the mistakes” of the 2016 polls.

In her speech at the the launch of the Oposisyon Koalisyon (Opposition Coalition) senatorial ticket in Marikina City on Wednesday, Robredo trumpeted the track records of the following senatorial aspirants:

In what appears to be a swipe against President Rodrigo Duterte and administration-allied politicians, Robredo told the crowd to recall the promises made by some candidates during the 2016 elections, and whatever happened to these campaign pledges. 

“Balikan po natin. Ano ba iyong mga dahilan kung bakit binoto natin iyong mga ibinoto natin noong 2016? At sana po, ngayong 2019, kung may mga pagkakamali man tayong nagawa noong eleksiyon ng 2016, panahon po ito para itama natin iyong ating mga mali,” said Robredo.

(Let’s look back. What were the reasons why we chose those whom we voted for in 2016? And I hope that in 2019, if we made mistakes during the 2016 elections, this is the time for us to correct those mistakes.)

The Vice President said Filipino voters should no longer be swayed by mere promises and urged them to look at the senatorial bets’ track records even before they decided to run for an elective post. She said the 2019 elections would provide the opportunity to “make things right.”

Ngayon pong halalan na darating, pagkakataon para iwasto natin lahat. Marami pong nagrereklamo ng kung anu-ano, pero hindi po tayo nawawalan ng pag-asa. Tinitingnan lang po natin iyong 8, buhay na ulit iyong pag-asa sa ating mga puso,” said Robredo.

(This coming elections is a chance for us to make things right. There are people complaining about many things, but we are still not losing hope. Just looking at our 8 senatorial bets is enough to rekindle hope in our hearts.)

Tinitingnan natin iyong 8, sasabihin natin, hindi pa naman ubos iyong pag-asa sa pulitika. Mayroon pa tayong pagkakataon para linisin kung ano mang dumi ang nandiyan (We look at the 8 and we say hope is not lost in politics. We still have a chance to clean whatever mess is there),” she added.

ENDORSEMENT. Vice President Leni Robredo delivers her speech endorsing the oppposition coalition's senatorial bets on October 24, 2018. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Robredo then stressed the importance of voting for all 8 opposition senatorial aspirants. 

Kakatukin ‘yong lahat ng kapamilya, ‘yong mga kamaganak at ‘yong mga kalapit na bahay. Ipapakilala ‘yung 8. Hindi po natin hihiwalay-hiwalayin ‘yung 8. Kasi ‘yung pag-asa natin, ‘pag iniharap natin ‘yong 8 na magkakasama, dahil itong 8 na ito, subok na ang pamamahal sa ating bayan,” said Robredo. 

(We will knock on the doors of every relative and neighbor. We will introduce the 8 aspirants to them. We cannot separate the 8 bets. Our hope is hinged on all the 8 together. Because these 8 people have proven their love for our country.)

The Oposisyon Koalisyon launch was attended by Liberal Party stalwarts like former president and LP chairman emeritus Benigno Aquino III, LP president and Senator Kiko Pangilinan, LP secretary-general and Quezon City 6th District Representative Jose Christopher Belmonte, Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo, and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman.

Also present were opposition Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros, former chief peace adviser Teresita Deles, and former human rights chairperson Etta Rosales.

Roxas was the only senatorial aspirant who was absent during the event. Pangilinan told Rappler that Roxas was out of the country “for a commitment scheduled even before he decided to run.”

The Oposisyon Koalisyon slate was finalized by an advisory council led by Robredo together with representatives from the LP, the Office of the Vice President, Akbayan, Akyson Demokratiko, Magdalo, and Tindig Pilipinas.

A sea of colors

Six of senatorial aspirants – Roxas, Aquino, Alejano, Diokno, Gutoc, and Tañada – are all running under the banner of the former dominant LP. Hilbay is running under Aksyon Demokratiko while Macalintal is an independent candidate.  

None of the Senate hopefuls wore yellow – the political color of the LP – during the launch. Instead, they wore their respective campaign colors. Their supporters did the same. 

Robredo acknowledged this in her speech, where she noted that the selection process involved in coming up with the opposition slate was not easy.

Hindi po naging madali ang proseso. Ang pagsasama-sama po natin ngayon, iba’t ibang kulay. Nakikita natin may mga dilaw, nakikita natin may mga luntian, nakikita natin may puti, may asul, may pula, may itim, may pink pa pala…. Pero kahit po iba-iba ‘yong kulay, iisa ang nagbuklod sa atin: ang ating pagmamahal sa bayan,” said the Vice President. 

(The process was not easy. We came together in different colors. We can see people in yellow, green, white, blue, red, black, and even pink…. But even if our colors are different, one thing unites us: love for country.)

THE CANDIDATES. (From L-R) Senatorial aspirants Bam Aquino, Gary Alejano, Pilo Hikbay, Erin Tañada, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, and Romy Macalintal. Photo by Maria Tan/Rappler

Robredo also said the senatorial bets came from diverse backgrounds, but they were all united in their desire to fight for the country they all love if elected to the Senate. 

Marami rin po tayong iba-ibang paniniwala. Marami ring iba-ibang tinatayuan….  ‘Yong ating pong ilalaban na 8, iba’t-iba rin ‘yong pinanggalingan. May nanggaling sa matinding kahirapan. May nanggaling din po sa mga pamilyang malalaking pangalan sa ating bayan. May mga dating nang nahalal, may mga unang pagkakataon na isasabak sa halalan,” said the Vice President.

(We have different beliefs…and convictions…. The 8 people we are fielding also come from different places. Some came from poverty. Others belong to families who are big names in our country. There are those who were previously elected, while this is the first election for others.)

Pero lahat po sila hindi matatawaran ang kakayahan…hindi lang sa sailta, kung ‘di sa pinakita nila na track record (But their capabilities cannot be denied. Their capabilities cannot be denied not just because of their words but also because of their track records),” she added.

The odds are against the Oposisyon Koalisyon senatorial bets in the run up to the 2019 elections. So far, only Roxas has made it into the so-called winners’ circle in pre-election surveys, while Aquino is just outside it.

The aspirants remained  unfazed, banking on help from their supporters in order to boost their numbers in the coming months. – 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.