Robredo explains rise, ‘blames’ Vilma for VP race

BATANGAS, Philippines – Pin the blame on the star for all seasons.

Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Leni Robredo said this in jest during a campaign rally here on Wednesday, March 16, referring to Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto.

Robredo, who's on her her first term as Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative, is a reluctant politician who was thrust into the national spotlight last year after she accepted the ruling party’s offer to run for the second-highest post in the land.

Before Robredo said yes, Santos-Recto was considered for the slot.

Parang ang dami ko nang beses bumaba sa Batangas. Maraming marami na pong beses at naalala ko po, yung una ko pong pagpunta dito, bagong bago pa lang akong kandidato para vice president. Sabi ko po kay Governor Vi: Gov, kasalalan mo 'to,” said Robredo, eliciting applause from the crowd.

(I’ve visited Batangas a lot of times recently. I just remembered that I visited Batangas right after I accepted the offer to run for vice president. I told Governor Vi: This is your fault.)

Santos-Recto, who first rose to fame as a movie star, is on her last term as governor. Despite offers to run for higher office, she declared she was not interested in a national post. She is now running as district representative of Batangas.

Dahil ayaw mo, ako tuloy yung napapalakad. Pero sobrang mahal na mahal po ni Governor Vi yung Batangas, ayaw niyang iwan. Kaya kanina po sabi ko: Gov, alam ko na po kung ano yung ipapagawa kong tarpaulin dito sa Batangas. Mag-pa-pa-picture tayo na tinuturo kita tapos sasabihin ko: Kasalanan mo ito,” added Robredo.

(Because you didn’t want to run, I was thrust into the role. Governor Vi loves Batangas so much, she didn’t want to leave you. So I was saying earlier: Gov, I know what sort of tarpaulin I should have made in Batangas. We should have our picture taken and I should point at you, saying: This is your fault.)

It took Robredo weeks to decide on whether to accept the LP’s decision. In sorties all around the country, the neophyte legislator said she accepted the party’s offer because she could not turn down the call to serve and because her standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas II, is someone she trusts and admires.

Leni’s rise

Robredo has come a long way from the 1 to 4% preference rating she mustered when she first announced her bid for the vice presidency. The legislator now hovers between 21 and 24%, but is still at third behind survey front runners Senators Francis Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.

Kapag iniisip ko kung saan ako nagsimula, when I was 1%, yung front runner was 43 or 44%. Tapos ngayon I'm just 4 points behind. Syempre masayang masaya parang hindi rin makapaniwala na lalapit ng ganito. Hoping for the best naman kami. Sana lang ma-maintain yung trajectory hanggang sa katapusan,” Robredo told reporters in a chance interview on Wednesday.

(When I think about where I started, when I was at 1% and the front runner was at 43 or 44%. Now I’m just 4 points behind. Of course I’m happy and part of me can’t believe I’m this close. We hope for the best. And we hope we maintain the trajectory until the end.)

Robredo was among the biggest gainers in the most recent opinion polls, gaining between 4 to 5 percentage points, inching closer to Escudero and Marcos. (READ: Robredo biggest gainer in VP poll)

Speaking to reporters, Robredo attributed her rise to old school campaigning and her staunch stance against martial law “revisionism.”

During a recent vice presidential debate, Robredo rebutted the claim of rival Ferdinand Marcos Jr that martial law was necessary to address insurgency problems in the country under the regime of his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The martial law years are remembered for cases of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and poor economic policies.

The country recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, which ended decades of rule under the older Marcos. – Rappler.com