WATCH: Ex-DOH chiefs Dayrit, Cabral on helping Robredo craft health agenda for 2022

Two former secretaries of health – Dr. Manuel Dayrit and Dr. Esperanza Cabral – vouched for Vice President Leni Robredo’s capability to lead the Philippines through the coronavirus pandemic should she become president in 2022. 

Dayrit and Cabral both wore the pink campaign color of Robredo when they joined her press conference on Monday, November 8, as the Vice President further discussed her coronavirus pandemic response platform

Dayrit in particular said he is backing Robredo’s presidential bid as she has the “qualities for leadership in pushing the agenda forward.”

“Tinitignan niya ang mga detalye. A leader really has to understand 'yung mga details. Even if there are people working on the details, kailangan tinitignan niya ang mga detail na 'yun. Ngayon, 'yung mga nasa taas, ‘di nila tinitignan 'yung mga detalye ngayon.... Personally, I will support VP Leni,” said Dayrit.

(She looks at the details. A leader really has to understand the details. Even if there are people working on the details, she needs to scrutinize these things as well. Right now, the people in power are not looking at the details. Personally, I will support VP Leni.)

Dayrit was at the helm of the DOH when the Philippines was able to contain the SARS outbreak in 2002 to 2003.

Cabral, meanwhile, said she is “only too happy” to help Robredo craft her health agenda for 2022. 

“But we are also open to other people who want a good health agenda and may need our help. So we are not exclusive to VP; we are working for a good health agenda,” added Cabral.

Watch this video excerpt from Robredo's press conference. –

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 or tweet @maracepeda.