2022 PH presidential race

In KBP forum, Robredo vows no sacred cows under her watch

Mara Cepeda
In KBP forum, Robredo vows no sacred cows under her watch

BEHIND THE SCENES: Vice President Leni Robredo and her team are working to address the technical difficulties during the 'Panata sa Bayan: The KBP Presidential Forum', aired live simultaneously on different platforms on February 4, 2022.

Jay Ganzon/OVP

'Kasama, hindi kasama, kalaban, kakampi, wala tayong kikilingan. Kasi oras na may kinilingan tayo, magiging failure na ang lahat,' says presidential aspirant Leni Robredo
In KBP forum, Robredo vows no sacred cows under her watch

MANILA, Philippines – If she becomes the next Philippine president, Leni Robredo vowed to rebuild trust in the government and to end selective justice through an anti-corruption program that would spare no one, even her own allies.

This was the image of the country’s next leader that Robredo sought to project when she joined the presidential forum hosted by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) on Friday, February 4.

Robredo, who had to deal with spotty internet connection during the live broadcast, elaborated on her comprehensive platform rooted in her appreciation for data and her solid experiences working for and with the poorest Filipinos in the country. (READ: Internet glitch at KBP forum gives a peek into Leni Robredo’s crisis management skills)

Her plans are hinged on a government led by honest and competent leaders, and for Robredo, this means clamping down on corruption, playing no favorites, and getting rid of selective justice.

Asked whether she was satisfied with the justice served in relation to the pork barrel scam, and if she believed she was ready to to move on regarding the issue, Robredo said the Philippines still cannot move on because the cases have yet to be resolved. In fact, there are politicians embroiled in the scandal are running in the May polls, she said but did not name anyone.

The presidential aspirant said that until the cases are resolved, the practice of using bogus nongovernmental organizations to funnel taxpayers’ money into the pockets of politicians would just morph into another form and plague the country. 

The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam exploded during the term of her ally, the late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who had been criticized for failing to hold liable his allies linked to the scam.

Does her push to go after these erring officials also include Aquino allies?  Without batting an eye, Robredo said yes.

“Kasama, hindi kasama, kalaban, kakampi, wala tayong kikilingan. Kasi oras na may kinilingan tayo, magiging failure na ang lahat. Kung may pinaboran tayong isang grupo, magiging failure na ang lahat na ginagawa natin. Dito nakasalalay ang tiwala ng taongbayan,” said the Vice President. 

(Whether you’re with me or not, ally or enemy, we won’t play favorites. Because the moment we do that, everything would become a failure. If we would favor one group, that would indicate a failure of everything that we have been doing. The trust of the people is at stake here.)

Aquino was the chairman emeritus of the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP), which Robredo now chairs. Robredo, however, ran as an independent, an unspoken acknowledgement of the burdens she carries as head of the demonized LP. Still, her closest LP allies are playing key roles in her 2022 campaign. 

Reforming political system, empowering Filipinos

In the KBP forum, Robredo also pushed for political and electoral reforms designed to force government officials to stay clean.

She said she would certify as urgent her proposed full disclosure bill, the first measure she filed when she was Camarines Sur congresswoman in 2013. The bill did not become a law even if Congress was dominated then by LP officials. 

Robredo said if she becomes president, she would sign an executive order while the bill is pending in Congress, so that all government offices would be transparent in their projects and transactions. 

She also pushed to support laws banning political dynasties and the perennial problem of politicians jumping parties to ensure their election victory.

On her promise to give ordinary Filipinos a seat at the table, Robredo once again pushed to replicate the “People’s Council” that was institutionalized in her home city Naga in Camarines Sur back when her late husband Jesse Robredo was mayor.

The People’s Council allowed ordinary citizens from different sectors in Naga to be a body “parallel” to the City Council in crafting legislation. 

It is in this spirit that Robredo rejected the proposed Boracay Island Development Authority, as local government units and affected residents had been left out of negotiations. She rejected “shallow consultations” that are currently happening in controversial reclamation projects. 

Asked if she would legalize online “sabong” or cockfighting, Robredo would rather talk to all stakeholders first before penalizing what has becoming a popular gambling of choice among Filipinos. She is, however, against all types of activities that would cause addiction. 

At the end of the forum, Robredo stayed on message and even paid homage to the iconic line from 2016 that helped propel her to the vice presidency. 

“Ang inaalok kong uri ng pamamahala, isang gobyernong tapat, mahusay, masipag, at laging maasahan. Hindi ka lolokohin, hindi ka nanakawan, hinding-hindi ka iiwan o pababayaan,” Robredo said. 

(The kind of leadership I’m offering is one of a government that is honest, excellent, hard-working, and always reliable. It won’t fool you, steal from you, and will never ever abandon or neglect you.)

She added, “Handang-handa akong harapin ang hamon ng pagiging pangulo at ngayong 2022, the last man standing will still be a woman.” 

(I am ready to face all the challenges of being a president, and in 2022, the last man standing will still be a woman.) – 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.