MANILA, Philippines – It was only October last year when Leni Robredo, who was known mainly just as “the late Jesse Robredo’s wife,” stepped on stage at the historic Club Filipino to formally accept the ruling Liberal Party (LP)’s offer for her to run as vice president.
A little over 6 months later, Robredo, officially a veteran of a gruelling national campaign, went on stage once again.
This time, she wasn’t known merely as “Jesse Robredo’s wife” but as Leni Robredo, the front runner in one of tightest vice presidential races the country has seen to date.
“Ngayon, irreversible na na mananalo tayo (Now, our victory is irreversible),” said Robredo in a speech before supporters and the media at the Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday, May 15.
A mere hours earlier, Robredo’s chief rival, Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. “declared” his own victory.
Robredo and her campaign team on Sunday, announced a Marcos victory was mathematically improbable at this point, citing data from the Commission on Elections.
“Alam ko na in your hearts, alam niyo rin na panalo na tayo. Pero siyempre, tayo parati tayong conservative. Gusto natin hindi tayo nagyayabang, hindi tayo nangangantyaw, sisiguraduhin natin na ang numero ay nandiyan,” Robredo told her supporters.
(I know that in your hearts, you also know we’ve won. But we always want to err on the conservative side. We don’t want to boast. We will not taunt people and we’ll make sure the numbers are there.)
Robredo has had to fend off or downplay Marcos’ claims that the elections were rigged in favor of the LP candidate. Marcos initially led the partial, unofficial count but was overtaken by Robredo hours later. The Camarines Sur representative now has a 6 digit lead over the senator from Ilocos Sur.
But it was Robredo’s other message in her speech that caught the attention of many.
“Pero ako, may isa lang akong pakiusap. Baka nakakalimutan natin na tapos na eleksyon. Kapag sinabi kong dapat maalala natin na tapos na ang eleksyon, alam natin na marami sa atin na na-bu-bully sa social media, alam natin na marami sa'tin na-vi-vilify sa social media, pero ang sa akin lang na pakiusap sana mag take tayo ng high ground. Huwag na tayong makipag away kasi panalo na tayo,” she said.
(I have one request. Maybe we’ve forgotten that the elections are over. When I say the election are over, I’m sure you all know that a lot of people bully us on social media, we all know a lot of us are vilified on social media but I ask you to take the high ground. Let’s not pick fights anymore because we’ve already won.)
The past 3 months have seen friendships end – offline and especially online – over what many are describing as one of the most divisive elections in recent history.
“Ang sa akin lang, magbigay tayo ng mas maraming allowances kasi after nito, ito ay isang stage lang sa struggle natin. After nito ay iyong mas malaking struggle. Iyong pagbuo ulit ng ating bansa. Kapag nakikipag-away pa tayo hanggang ngayon, nagko-contribute tayo sa divisiveness sa ating lahat. Eh madasalin naman tayong lahat, ipagdasal nalang natin sila,” added Robredo.
(Let’s give allowances because after this comes another stage of our struggle. After this comes a bigger struggle – of making our country whole again. If we continue to pick fights, we’ll just contribute to the divisiveness of it all. We’re prayerful so let’s just pray for them.)
To her supporters, Robredo asked continued “help.”
“'Pag ako ay nagsimula nang maglingkod bilang pangalawang pangulo, binabantayan pa rin ako. Kapag nagkakamali, pinapaalala. Kapag tama naman ang ginagawa pinapalakas iyong loob. Kaya iyong obligasyon ninyo, sorry to say pero hindi pa tapos,” she said.
(When I start my term as vice president, you still need to watch me closely. If I do something wrong, call me out. If I do something right, strengthen my resolve. So this obligation of course, sorry to say, is not yet done.)
The LP’s vice presidential candidate also called on supporters to rally behind president-elect Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, one of LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II’s fiercest rivals in the presidential race. – Rappler.com