2022 PH presidential race

Robredo shrugs off Moreno’s attacks: ‘Magpapaka-gentleman na lang ako, ha?’

Mara Cepeda
Robredo shrugs off Moreno’s attacks: ‘Magpapaka-gentleman na lang ako, ha?’

Presidential bet and Vice President Leni Robredo holds a press conference on October 15, 2021.

Mara Cepeda/Rappelr

'Ayoko nang pumatol, kasi mas malaki ‘yung mga problema natin,' says Vice President Leni Robredo

Opposition leader and Vice President Leni Robredo shrugged off the string of attacks against her by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, as she said on Friday, October 15, that the country has far bigger problems than these.

“Ako alam mo, magpapaka-gentleman na lang ako ha? Ayoko nang pumatol, kasi mas malaki ‘yung mga problema natin. Tingin ko wala naman ‘tong papapuntahan,” said Robredo, who like Moreno is running for president.

(You know, I’m going to be a gentleman here, okay? I don’t want to engage him, because we have far bigger problems. I think this would just lead to nowhere.)

Moreno had been displeased when the Vice President disclosed to reporters on October 8 that one of the reasons that pushed her to seek the presidency was the Manila mayor’s position toward the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his family. 

One of the presidential contenders that Robredo and Moreno will be facing in the 2022 polls is the dictator’s only son and namesake, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Moreno said he admires the vision of the dictator Marcos, but also condemned human rights abuses under Martial Law. 

A top official of Moreno’s Akyson Demokratiko party also claimed Robredo supposedly misunderstood the mayor’s stance towards the Marcoses. 

But for Robredo, the Marcoses and the atrocities committed by the family during the patriarch’s 21-year rule is a “nonnegotiable” for her. It was one of the reasons why her unity talks with Moreno fell through. 

The bigger fight

Robredo, however, said engaging with Moreno would ultimately not help achieve her goal in running for 2022: to prevent a Marcos presidency and to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s extended hold on power. 

“Gaya ng sabi ko, hindi lang kay Mayor Isko, ang dami kong nilapitan para maghanap ng avenue na magkaisa. Hindi makakatulong na, gaya nga ng sinabi ni Senator Kiko [Pangilinan], klaro naman ‘yung kalaban natin dito,” said Robredo. 

(As I said before, I approached so many people, not just Mayor Isko, to find avenues to unite. Like what Senator Kiko Pangilinan said, this will not help and it’s clear who is our true enemy here.)

Robredo’s running mate Pangilinan reiterated people should focus more on the issues of the coronavirus instead of political colors in 2022. 

“The biggest enemy of our generation, of our entire country, is COVID-19. Unless we address COVID-19, walang mangyayari sa atin. Gutom, hirap, kamatayan – so iyon ang dapat… Hindi kulay, hindi si Isko, ang totoong katunggali natin. Ang tunay na katunggali natin eh itong COVID-19,” said Pangilinan. 

(The biggest enemy of our generation, of our entire country, is COVID-19. Unless we address COVID-19, nothing will happen to us. Hunger, poverty, death – these things should be our focus… Our true enemy here is not the color, not Mayor Isko. Our true enemy is COVID-19.)

Robredo earlier said her running as an independent is her “symbolic” way of showing that she is open to unite with different political parties. 

She has also recalibrated her unification efforts for 2022, as she is now focused on being seen as a unifying figure, instead of channeling energies to forging an unlikely alliance with other presidential bets.

Her political strategy appears to have worked, with her senatorial slate composed of politicians who never would have banded together in the past. – 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.