2022 PH presidential race

Disqualify Marcos? Robredo prefers to beat old rival in the polls

Mara Cepeda
Disqualify Marcos? Robredo prefers to beat old rival in the polls

MARCOS VS ROBREDO. Pictured here are presidential aspirants former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler and Jire Carreon/Rappler

Leni Robredo says defeating the dictator's son in the 2022 presidential race will put to rest his lie that she cheated him in the 2016 vice presidential contest

MANILA, Philippines – Many of Vice President Leni Robredo’s supporters want her rival, the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to be disqualified from the presidential race.

But if it were up to her, Robredo would rather beat him again in the May 2022 elections – just like she did in the vice presidential contest in 2016 – to put a stop to his lies about cheating once and for all.

This was how the opposition presidential bet responded when asked by journalist Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan on CNN Philippines’ News Night if Robredo wanted the petitions to block Marcos’ candidacy to succeed or if she would rather slug it out against him in the polls. 

“Ako, Pia, ayokong mag-comment doon sa disqualification case. But if you were to ask me, mas gusto natin talunin natin siya sa eleksiyon para matapos na ito,” Robredo said. (Pia, I don’t want to comment on the disqualification case. But if you were to ask me, I’d rather defeat him in the elections to put an end to this once and for all.)

She recalled the electoral protest that Marcos had filed against her in 2016 after she had defeated him in the VP race by just 263,473 votes.

Since then, the propaganda machine of Marcos spent the next five years discrediting Robredo’s vice presidency and claiming she had cheated him. 

It was only in February 2021 when the Supreme Court unanimously junked Marcos’ claims of electoral fraud against Robredo. 

But the damage has been done, as Marcos trolls and propagandists saturated social media platforms with attacks and lies against Robredo.

“Kung naaalala mo, nung natalo ko siya sa 2016, dahil ino-own ‘nya ‘yung social media, ang daming naniniwala na dinaya ko siya. Kahit ilang beses pa ko nanalo sa Supreme Court, ito ‘yung narrative na pinu-push ‘nya,” Robredo said. 

(If you remember, when I defeated him in 2016, because he owned social media, so many people believed that I cheated him. No matter how many times I won in the Supreme Court, this is the narrative that he’s been pushing.)

“So kailangan talagang talunin siya sa susunod na eleksiyon para, once and for all, mahinto na ‘yung ginagawa ‘nya na pagpapaniwala sa tao nung narrative na gusto ‘nyang i-push,” she added.

(So I must defeat him in the next elections to once and for all stoo this narrative that he wants people to believe.)

2022 another Marcos-Robredo showdown?

A reluctant candidate in the beginning, Robredo earlier said one of her motivations for running in 2022 was to stop a Marcos Jr. presidency.

The latest pre-election surveys indicate 2022 is going to be another Marcos-Robredo showdown, with the latter clearly in an underdog position once again as she faces the vaunted money and machinery of Marcos. 

Robredo has improved her voter preference rating in the December 2021 Pulse Asia survey, rising to 20% from her 6% to 8% rating in mid-2021. But she is in far second place, as frontrunner Marcos has outpaced all other presidential bets with 53%. 

On Thursday, Robredo gained the endorsement of 23 former Cabinet secretaries and officials of ex-president Fidel Ramos, who was believed to have been instrumental in Duterte’s victory in the 2016 presidential elections. – 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.