ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Vice President and presidential aspirant Leni Robredo said on Monday, January 24, she didn’t have the right to meddle in the choices that her rival, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., but indicated that the latter’s decision to skip the presidential interviews by GMA network’s Jessica Soho sent the wrong message.
“Choice niya naman ‘yun, so…wala tayong papel para pakialaman ‘yung choices hindi lang niya pero ng iba pang mga kandidato,” Robredo told local journalists in Dipolog when she was asked to comment on Marcos’ non-appearance on the televised interviews the nigh before.
(It’s his choice, and we don’t have the right to meddle in not just his choices but those of other candidates.)
Candidates, however, have the responsibility to submit themselves to public scrutiny and answer the hard questions, Robredo said.
Marcos’ spokesman issued a statement before the interviews, saying their candidate refused to join the interviews because the veteran journalist Soho was biased against Marcos. GMA network said tough questions had to be asked of candidates because the presidency was a tough job to begin with. Netizens used the hashtag #MarcosDuwag to criticize his non-appearance.
“Pero, para kasi sa akin, mahalaga na kung kami ay naghahangad ng suporta ng taumbayan, kailangan handa kaming harapin kahit ‘yung mahihirap na katanungan kasi dine-deserve ng taumbayan malaman kung ano ‘yung katotohanan sa mga bagay na ibinabato sa amin o ano ‘yung mga bagay na naririnig tungkol sa amin. Pinakamabisang paraan na harapin naman ‘yun,” Robredo said.
(For me, however, it’s important for us who are courting people’s support to be ready to face even the hard questions, because the people deserve to know the truth about the issues thrown at us o the things they hear about us. The most effective way [to clarify them] is for us to tackle the issues head-on.)
“So, dapat hindi kami natatakot sa hindi lang pagtatanong pero pagtutuligsa kasi kaming mga public servants ang responsibility namin sa bansa ay ayusin ‘yung aming inilalahad to the best of our ability. ‘Pag kandidato ka kasi, binibigay mo ‘yung sarili mo na maging subject ka for scrutiny,” the Vice President added.
(So we shouldn’t shy away not just from questions but from criticisms, because we public servants have the responsibility to the country to present well what we are offering the best way we can. When you’re a candidate, you submit yourself to scrutiny.)
Vice President Robredo had a closed-door meeting with Dipolog Bishop Severo Caermare, after which she went to the provincial capitol and donated at least 1,000 antigen test kits through Governor Roberto Uy.
The Uys have not officially announced the presidential candidate they would support, but talk is that they are inclined to back Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.
The Uys was with Lakas-NUCD during the time of president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then jumped ship to the Liberal Party – Robredo’s party – when Benigno Aquino III won. The Uys again joined PDP-Laban when President Rodrigo Duterte won.
Robredo also met with her campaign volunteers at the function room of a building owned by the family of Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District Representative Isagani Amatong. The Amatongs are close allies of the Uys, but they remain with the Liberal Party.
The Uy-Amatong group’s rival, the Jalosjos group, has consistently been supporting Marcos Jr. since the 2016 elections, when Robredo defeated him in the vice presidential race.
After Dipolog, Vice President Robredo proceeded to Barangay Concepcion of Kabasalan town in neighboring Zamboanga Sibugay province for the turnover of livelihood subsidy to Kapunungan sa Gagmayng Mangingisda sa Concepcion. – Rappler.com