MANILA, Philippines – She can be a runaway winner in the vice presidential race in 2016. She would even beat Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, who is being groomed as the running mate of potential presidential bet Senator Grace Poe.
Senator Serge Osmeña shared these thoughts with reporters Thursday, August 13, about the prospects of Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, who is being pushed as the running mate of administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II. Escudero ranked 3rd in a June survey on vice presidential preferences.
Osmeña, who managed the first phase of President Benigno Aquino III’s campaign in 2010, said Robredo has advantages over Escudero but refused to give details.
“I feel if she’s packaged properly, if she develops the right message, she’s gonna be, maybe a runaway winner. Properly handled, she'll beat Chiz," Osmeña said.
Osmeña said the low-key Robredo, just on her first term as representative, would make a “great, effective, and strong” candidate and would help Roxas in his presidential bid.
Robredo won over Nelly Villafuerte in the 2013 congressional race in Camarines Sur, putting an end to the rule of the Villafuerte clan that had controlled the province since 1978.
Osmeña said Roxas, who lags in surveys, would benefit from Robredo’s image as “heroine” and as wife of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“I love Leni Robredo. I already said this. She’s going to be an easy sell, she’s going to make a wonderful candidate, she’s going to be a very, a very big plus for Mar [Roxas],” he said.
The senator, however, noted there is still a need for Robredo to be “exposed to the national audience.”
“She has to be exposed to the national audience but I’ve seen many people come and go in this business of politics, normally once in a rare blue moon, you can spot somebody… she's going to be very attractive,” he said.
Robredo has been reluctant to jump into the fray, saying there are other politicians who can make a better vice presidential bet.
Asked if Roxas’ attempt to change his image is so far effective, the senator and political strategist said it is too soon to tell as the next survey would determine it.
Osmeña said it is now "obvious" that Roxas is on a “charm offensive” to get close to the people. (READ: Roxas meets with BPO workers)
“Yan ang thermometer mo eh, di ba, yung surveys? Because we can all argue until we’re blue in the face but if the survey says ‘Hoy! mababa ka pa, wa epek,’” Osmeña said. (Surveys are your thermometer, right? Because we can all argue until we're blue in the face but if the survey says 'Hoy! You're still lagging in surveys, no effect.") – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org