Robredo to candidates: Not bad to entertain, but discuss platforms too

Mara Cepeda
'Sana pagkatapos sumayaw, pagkatapos kumanta, sabihin kung ano iyong tinatayuan kasi dine-deserve ng taong malaman iyon,' says Vice President Leni Robredo

PLATFORM OVER ENTERTAINMENT. Vice President Leni Robredo speaks during a multi-sectoral forum held in Carmona, Cavite on February 27, 2019. Photo by OVP

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo said on Wednesday, February 27, that she sees nothing wrong with candidates entertaining voters, but they should educate them on their platforms too.

“Ako kasi sa tingin ko, hindi naman masama kumanta saka sumayaw. Hindi naman iyon masama kasi na-e-entertain iyong tao. Pero sana mas malalim pa doon. Sana pagkatapos sumayaw, pagkatapos kumanta, sabihin kung ano iyong tinatayuan kasi dine-deserve ng taong malaman iyon,” the Vice President said on Wednesday, February 27. 

(I think it’s not bad to sing and dance. It’s not bad since people get entertained. But it has to go deeper than that. I hope that after the dancing, after the singing, the candidates will discuss where they stand on issues because the people deserve to know that.)

Robredo made the statement in a media interview in Dasmariñas, Cavite, when she was asked about the flak some administration-allied senatorial candidates got after the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported their stand-up comedy and song numbers during a campaign sortie in Cebu City. 

During the Cebu event, senatorial candidate Bong Go and actor Philip Salvador poked fun at the latter’s past romance with Kris Aquino, the sister of former president Benigno Aquino III, in a comedy skit during Go’s campaign speech.

The former president is chairman emeritus of the once-ruling Liberal Party,  which Robredo currently chairs.

Reelectionist and returning senators, as well as some new faces from the admnistration slate, have dominated pre-election surveys so far.  Members of the opposition’s Otso Diretso senatorial ticket, which the Vice President is endorsing, have lagged behind in the surveys.

Only former interior chief Mar Roxas and reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino have been making it into the so-called winners’ circle, based on the last round of surveys.

“Kung popularidad lang kasi iyong pagbabasehan, ultimately ang kawawa din iyong taumbayan. Kasi kapag nakaupo na, nasaan na sila? Iyon naman iyong pinu-pursue natin – na sana maliban sa personalidad ng bawat kandidato, malaman iyong paniniwala,” said Robredo. 

(If we are just going to base our vote on popularity, ultimately our countrymen will get the shorter end of the stick. Because when these candidates get elected, where do they go? This is what we are pursuing – that apart from the personality of every candidate, the voters know their beliefs.)

Otso Diretso also performs

Some of the opposition bets also performed for the crowds in campaign events.

When Otso Diretso held its grand proclamation rally in Naga, Marawi civic leader and peace advocate Samira Gutoc ended her speech by singing a stanza of “We Are the Champions,” while Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano ended his speech with a short rendition of “Pilipinas Kong Mahal.”

When the senatorial ticket barnstormed in Cebu City, Aquino and members of his campaign team did a brief dance number as his campaign jingle played in the background. Veteran election lawyer Romy Macalintal also showed off his ballroom dancing skills when his campaign jingle played right before he delivered his speech.

In all cases though, the opposition bets spent less than a minute to perform, and dedicated the rest of their 5- to 10-minute speeches discussing their platforms. –

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.