Women’s group to back Robredo’s potential presidential run

The group of women from various sectors nationwide who had supported Leni Robredo’s vice presidential bid in 2016 is now mobilizing for her potential presidential bid in 2022. 

The Women for Leni movement is organizing an online event entitled “Kababaihan, Magkaisa! Women for Leni Launch” on Saturday, July 24, to convince Robredo to aim for Malacañang in the 2022 polls. 

The Women for Leni group was initially created during the 2016 campaign to support the vice presidential campaign of the then-Camarines Sur congresswoman, the underdog in the race who later defeated five incumbent male senators.

Robredo has not yet decided on whether to run for president in 2022, given her low survey numbers so far and the persistent attacks from the Duterte machinery these past five years, among other considerations.

Rappler sources privy to Robredo’s discernment process said that she wants at least a fighting chance before gunning for the presidency in 2022. Her other options include possibly running for governor in her home province or taking a break from politics in 2022.

Despite the odds, the Women for Leni movement sees Robredo to be the most qualified candidate who can advance the rights of women, especially following President Rodrigo Duterte. 

“Wala kaming nakikitang ibang kandidato na maaaring magsulong ng karapatan at kapakanan ng kababaihan kundi si VP Leni lang. Kailangan natin ng lider gaya niya na naiintindihan at nagsusulong ang karapatan ng kababaihan,” said Bans Alqaseer, spokesperson for Women for Leni.

(We see no other candidate than VP Leni who can advance the rights and welfare of women. We need a leader like her who can understand us and push for the rights of women.)

During the planned Saturday program, influential women from across the country will air their messages of support for Robredo’s potential presidential bid. Colourette Cosmetics CEO Nina Ellaine Dizon, actress Saab Magalona, and Alqaseer will represent women from Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, respectively.

Robredo, the highest ranking female government official in the country, has long been a champion for women's empowerment. 

She is the polar opposite of Duterte, who has gained notoriety for his bloody war on drugs and his misogynistic remarks. 

Robredo herself has had to endure multiple sexist insults from Duterte, who has repeatedly belittles her capability to lead just because she is a woman.

Duterte would often insult Robredo amid her track record of spearheading programs for marginalized sectors before and during the coronavirus crisis, even without a government position.

Robredo remained undeterred by Duterte’s aggression, as she continues to be a staunch critic of his abusive policies, his defeatist approach to China's militarization of the West Philippine Sea, and the government’s lapses in its pandemic response program, among others. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.