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Robredo tells supporters: Win impossible without you

MANILA, Philippines – From one percent to vice president.

Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo on Friday, May 27, thanked her supporters – those who chose her even before her survey ratings went up – as the official canvass of votes showed she won the hotly-contested 2016 vice presidential race.

Gusto ko lang po magpasalamat sa lahat ng naniwala sa atin. Sa lahat po na kahit noong umpisa, talaga pong nag-umpisa ako sa wala, noong sadsad pa po ako, talagang naniwala na po sa akin, tumulong,” Robredo said in a TV interview in Naga City.

(I want to thank everyone who believed in me. Everyone who, even when I started with nothing, even when my ratings were down, believed in me, helped me.)

Robredo added: “Marami po tayong volunteers na talagang kahit hindi po ako personal na kilala, nag-devote po talaga nang napakaraming oras para po ipaglaban ang ating kandidatura. Hanggang ngayon po kahit tapos na ang eleksyon nandiyan po sila. Kahit po mahirap din para sa marami sa kanila, nandiyan sila nag-aabang, nagbibigay ng suporta, hindi po ito naging posible. Iyong laban ko po napakahirap na laban kasi nag umpisa po ako sa wala, kung wala po silang lahat na naniwala sa akin.

(A lot of our volunteers devoted their time to fight for my candidacy even if I don’t know them personally. Until now, even after the elections, they’re still there. Even if it was hard for many of them, they were there to watch, give support. This wouldn’t have been possible without them. My fight would’ve been harder without them because I started with nothing.)

In October 2015, Robredo formally accepted the ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s offer for her to be the running mate of standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II. At that time, Robredo had barely finished her first term as legislator. Her preference ratings did not even hit two digits.

Before her late husband Jesse Robredo died, Robredo had always chosen to stay away from the spotlight. While he governed Naga City, Robredo worked at the Public Attorney’s Office and later, at an alternative law group that specialized in helping the poor.

A lawyer by profession, Robredo is a self-professed “hesitant” politician. She was thrust into the political sphere in 2013, barely a year after her husband, the late interior secretary and long-time Naga City mayor Jesse Robredo, died in a plane crash.

Robredo was in Naga City on Friday to celebrate Jesse’s 58th birthday. (READ: As canvassing continues, Robredo heads home)

Kung ako lang iyon hinding hindi ko siguro tatanggapin. Kapag binabalikan po natin kung bakit ko tinanggap ay marahil dahil iyon sa asawa ko. Hindi lamang sa kanyang paggabay pero sa halimbawa na binigay niya sa amin na kahit mahirap ang sitwasyon kapag tinatawag tayo magsakripisyo sa bayan, wala tayo karapatan tumalikod dito,” she said.

(If it were just up to me, I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge to run for vice president. When I recall why I decided to run, maybe it’s because of my husband. Not just because of his guidance but because of the example he set: that even if the situation is difficult, when you’re asked to sacrifice for the country, you have no right to say no.)

Robredo was joined by her 3 daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian in Naga City. Her 3 daughters – initially the most vocal in opposing her candidacy – were among her chief substitutes in the gruelling 3-month campaign period.

Napakaswerte ko sa aking mga anak, napakahirap ng kanilang pinagdaanan na proseso bago nila ibigay ang kanilang pahintulot. Pero noong oras na binigay nila ang kanilang pahintulot talagang 100% ang kanilang pagsuporta sa akin,” she said of her daughters.

(I’m very lucky with my kids because they went through a long process before they gave me permission to run. But the moment they said yes, they gave 100% in supporting me.)

Aika, Robredo’s eldest, resigned from her government job while the two younger Robredos campaigned between school assignments and classes.

Robredo also led the partial, unofficial vote count – which prompted her chief rival, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, to accuse her and the ruling party of cheating. Robredo has denied these claims, while the Marcos camp has yet to produce conclusive evidence to prove massive electoral fraud.

On Friday, however, the Marcos camp congratulated Robredo.

The Camarines Sur representative said she expected the Marcos camp to file an election protest, but added she was glad that during the official canvassing, her rival’s allegations of fraud were proven false. – Rappler.com