Former senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV is foregoing a Senate comeback so he can focus on running Vice President Leni Robredo’s presidential campaign in the high-stakes 2022 elections.
This was confirmed to Rappler by Aquino after Robredo launched her candidacy on Thursday, October 7.
Asked by Rappler if he would be Robredo’s campaign manager for a second time, Aquino replied, “Yes.”
When asked if this would mean he would forego his Senate bid to focus on Robredo’s campaign instead, Aquino also replied yes.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Thursday afternoon, Aquino said he set aside his planned senatorial bid after Robredo requested him to lead her campaign.
“Ibubuhos po natin ang ating buong lakas, bitbit ang suporta at pagmamahal ng ating mga kababayan, upang ipanalo si VP Leni bilang Pangulo ng ating minamahal na bansa,” Aquino said.
(We will devote all our strength, with the support and love of our countrymen, to ensure victory for VP Leni as president of our beloved country.)
Echoing Robredo’s speech announcing her presidential bid, Aquino added, “Tulad ng kanyang sinabi, lalaban tayo at magtatagumpay!” (Like what she said, we will fight and we will win!)
It comes as no surprise that Robredo’s choice for her campaign manager is Aquino, the cousin of the late former president and LP chairman emeritus Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.
It was also the younger Aquino who ran Robredo’s vice presidential campaign in 2016, where she was the underdog who later bested five male incumbent senators.
Rappler sources said Aquino initially wanted to stage his Senate comeback in 2022 after his heartbreaking failed reelection bid in the 2019 polls. He was even among the senatorial bets formally nominated by LP for next year’s elections.
But Aquino ultimately accepted the challenge to be Robredo’s campaign manager after the Vice President finally decided to gun for Malacañang.
Aquino had ranked 14th in the 2019 elections with 14,117,528 votes, which he still considered as a “feat” then because of the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte that rubbed off on the latter’s candidates.
A known champion of free education and legislation aimed at jobs generation, Aquino focused on his social entrepreneurship activities following his defeat in 2019. – Rappler.com