2022 Philippine Elections

Robredo ‘not at all’ discouraged by surveys: ‘This is a fight down to the finish line’

Mara Cepeda
Robredo ‘not at all’ discouraged by surveys: ‘This is a fight down to the finish line’

CAMPAIGN FEVER. Vice President Leni Robredo and running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan interact with supporters at a rally in Silang, Cavite, on March 4, 2022.

Photo courtesy of VP Leni Media Bureau

'Mas lalo tayong nai-inspire kasi nararamdaman natin 'yung energy talaga on the ground,' says Vice President Leni Robredo

CAVITE, Philippines – Since the official campaign period kicked off in February, everywhere presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo goes, a sea of pink follows

Her “Kakampink” supporters go all out, with their handmade posters and outpouring of energy as if they were attending a street party, not a political rally.  

Robredo ‘not at all’ discouraged by surveys: ‘This is a fight down to the finish line’

And yet in the latest surveys conducted by major polling firms, Robredo remains in far second place to the survey frontrunner, the late dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

Does her poor showing in the surveys discourage her? 

“Not at all, not at all,” said Robredo in a chance interview with reporters in Cavite, the country’s second most vote-rich province, on Friday, March 4. 

Some 2.13 million votes are up for grabs in this province, where Marcos had edged her out in the 2016 vice-presidential race by over 152,000 votes. Cavite is also the bailiwick of another presidential bet, Senator Panfilo Lacson. 

Robredo recalled her come-from-behind victory in 2016, when she started out with single-digit voter preference and awareness ratings. It was only in March of that year when Robredo rose to number three. By April, she was already topping the surveys, her numbers a statistical tie with Marcos.

Robredo, the underdog of 2016, would eventually claim victory and become Vice President. 

She hopes to replicate the same feat in the high-stakes 2022 elections, which sees her slugging it out with Marcos and eight other male contenders. 

“Coming from 2016, nag-number three ako noong 2016, late March na. Number three pa lang ako. Nag-number two ako, third week of April na. So ano talaga to, down to the finish line talaga ‘yung laban. Mas lalo tayong nai-inspire kasi nararamdaman natin ‘yung energy talaga on the ground,” Robredo said. 

(Coming from 2016, I became number three by late March already. I was just number three. When I became number two, it was already the third week of April. So this is a fight down to the finish line. We’re even more inspired because we can feel the energy on the ground.)

Marcos still maintained his lead in the latest Pulse Asia survey conducted in January 19 to 24. He has outstripped his rivals with 60%, an increase of seven points from December 2021. In contrast, Robredo saw a four-percentage drop from 20% in December 2021 to 16% in January 2022.

Robredo believes these numbers do not capture yet what she describes as the “fervor” of her passionate supporters on the ground

CAMPAIGN FEVER. Vice President Leni Robredo and running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan interact with supporters at a rally in Silang, Cavite, on March 4, 2022. (VPLeni Media Bureau)

Many of her Kakampinks often organize sorties and events for her even without the official campaign team directing them to do so – the true mark of Robredo’s bottom-up, volunteer-led People’s Campaign. 

“‘Yung experience natin nung 2016, ‘yung pag-turn around ng boto, na-capture siya after na namin maramdaman ‘yung galaw sa ground. Sa malamang na hindi pa naka-capture ‘yun. Pero kami lahat nina Senator Kiko [Pangilinan], ramdam na ramdan namin na ibang-iba ito,” said Robredo.

(Based from our experience in 2016, the turnaround of the votes was captured after we felt the movement on the ground. So very likely that hasn’t been captured yet. But Senator Kiko Pangilinan and I can feel that it’s truly different this time.)

Must Read

Leni Robredo’s image challenges and her ‘pink bridge’ to the presidency

Leni Robredo’s image challenges and her ‘pink bridge’ to the presidency

Her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan agreed. A veteran politician, Pangilinan pointed out that presidential candidates in previous elections who topped surveys around March later lost the race. 

“‘Six years ago, ‘yung lamang ngayong March, talo. So marami pang mangyayari,’” said Pangilinan, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s very own dark horse story in the 2016 race.

(Six years ago, the person who was leading in March eventually lost. So a lot will still happen.)

There is currently a growing number of former government officials and professionals from various groups – including from sectors that are often apolitical like the military and foreign service – that have been voicing their support for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem.

More and more religious leaders of the Catholic Church are also coming out to voice support for Robredo, who is in turn tapping the Church “machinery” to battle the disinformation plaguing the 2022 elections.

Robredo has also been performing well in presidential debates and interviews, her eye for detail and her readiness to handle whatever crises made even more apparent by her crisp and comprehensive answers. – Rappler.com

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 mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.