FULL TEXT: Leni Robredo’s declaration of 2022 presidential bid

Vice President Leni Robredo announced her presidential bid for the May 2022 national elections on Thursday, October 7. 

In her speech, Robredo detailed the factors she considered in making her decision, what would be at stake in the historical polls, and why she decided to gun for higher office in 2022.

Below is the full text of Robredo's statement in Filipino (as she delivered it). An English translation follows.

Deklarasyon ng kandidatura para sa pagkapangulo ni Kgg. Leni Robredo

Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat.

Puno ng taimtim na pagninilay ang mga nakaraang araw. Salamat sa lahat ng nagparating ng suporta, sumabay sa dasal, at umunawa sa pinagdaanan kong discernment process ukol sa halalan ng 2022.

Sa prosesong ito, walang naging lugar ang ego o pansarili kong interes. Mabigat na responsibilidad ang pagkapangulo, at hindi ito puwedeng ibase sa ambisyon o sa pag-uudyok ng iba. Pagdating sa pamumuno, iisa lang dapat ang konsiderasyon: Ano ba ang pinakamabuti para sa bansa natin?

Lalong matimbang ang tanong na ito dahil sa napakalaking hamon ng pandemya. Ang dami nang namatay. Marami sa atin, ginawa na ang lahat na puwedeng gawin para lang mailigtas ang mahal sa buhay; para makahanap ng pambili ng pagkain; para maitawid ang sarili sa kinabukasan.

Mahaba ang daang tinahak natin para makarating sa araw na ito. Hindi ko binalak tumakbo. Iniisip ko nang bumalik na lang sa probinsiya namin, kung saan marami rin ang umaasa sa aking tumulong magpanday ng pagbabago.

Nitong mga nakaraang linggo, nakipagpulong tayo sa iba't ibang mga personalidad. Nilinaw ko sa kanila: Handa akong magbigay-daan at tumulong na lang. May alok din silang sumanib na lang ako bilang kandidato, o bilang bahagi ng kanilang administrasyon sakaling manalo sila. Ang tugon ko, hindi ito tungkol sa posisyon; hindi tayo nakikipag-usap para makipagtransaksiyon. Ang pinakamahalaga, magkaisa kami – sa prinsipyo, sa pangarap para sa bansa, at sa landas na dapat tahakin tungo sa katuparan ng mga ito.

Nilinaw ko rin: Buhay at kinabukasan ng Pilipino ang pinag-uusapan natin ngayon. Pinipilahan ang mga ospital, dumadaing ang mga health workers, at nagugutom ang mga nawalan ng trabaho. Samantala, bilyon-bilyong piso ang inilagay sa mga kuwestiyonableng kontrata habang milyon-milyong Pilipino ang naghihikahos.

Alam na nating lahat ito: Kaya maraming nagugutom, naghihirap, at namamatay, dahil sariling interes at hindi kapakanan ng Pilipino ang number one priority ng mga nasa poder. Ang kawalan ng maayos na pamamahala ang ugat ng ating maraming mga problema, at ito ang kailangang wakasan.

At kung gusto nating tunay na makalaya sa ganitong sitwasyon, hindi lang apelyido ng mga nasa poder ’yung dapat palitan; ’yung korupsiyon, ’yung incompetence, ’yung kawalan ng malasakit, kailangang palitan ng matino at mahusay na pamumuno. Handa dapat tayong iwaksi nang buong-buo ang mga agenda, ang mga interes, ang mismong mga tao at klase ng pulitika na sanhi ng pinagdaraanan ng bansa natin ngayon. Kung hindi ka lilinya nang malinaw, kung makikipagkompromiso ka, kung hindi mo man lang kayang sabihin [na] mali ang mali – nakaninong panig ka ba talaga?

Malinaw kung nasaan ako: Nasa panig tayo ng mga sinasagad ang lahat para iraos ang sarili, ang pamilya, ang kapuwa, mula sa pandemyang ito. Iba-iba man ang konteksto natin, pamilyar sa ating lahat ang pakiramdam ng pagiging nasa laylayan; ang paghahanap ng makakapitan, ’yung handa kang kumatok sa kahit saang pintuan, ’yung halos isigaw mo sa kahit sinong makakarinig: Tulong.

Nanay ako hindi lang ng tatlong anak ko, kundi ng buong bansa. At alam ng lahat ng ibang nanay, ng lahat ng ibang magulang, kung ano ang kaya nilang pagdaanan at isakripisyo sa ngalan ng kanilang mga anak. Naaalala ko nga ’yung maraming kaso ng domestic abuse na hinawakan ko noong nag-aabogado pa ako. Kung paanong tiniis ng mga kliyente ko ang pang-aabuso at pananakit ng asawa nila. Kapag tinanong mo kung bakit, iisa ang sagot: Alang-alang sa mga anak nila.

At naaalala ko kapag, sa wakas, pinili na nilang lumaya – kapag nahanap nila ang tapang na mag-empake, bitbitin ang mga bata, at gawin ang unang hakbang papalabas ng pinto nila. Dahil natauhan na sila na, kung hindi sila maglalakas ng loob, mamanahin lang ng mga anak nila ang pagdurusa.

Ina akong nakikita ang pagdurusa ng minamahal kong bansa. Naniniwala ako: Ang pag-ibig, nasusukat hindi lang sa pagtitiis, kundi sa kahandaang lumaban, kahit gaano kahirap, para matapos na ang pagtitiis. Ang nagmamahal, kailangang ipaglaban ang minamahal.

Buong-buo ang loob ko ngayon: Kailangan nating palayain ang sarili mula sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon. Lalaban ako; lalaban tayo.

Inihahain ko ang aking sarili bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo sa halalan ng 2022.

Malinaw sa lahat ang hamon na kinakaharap natin. Nakita na nating lahat ang pagsisinungaling at panggigipit na kayang gawin ng iba para maabot ang mga layunin nila. Nasa kanila ang pera, makinarya, isang buong estrukturang kayang magpalaganap ng anumang kuwentong gusto nilang palabasin. Pero hindi kayang tabunan ng kahit na anong ingay ang katotohanan: Kung parehong uri ng pamamahala at pareho ang pagkatao ng mga magwawagi sa araw ng halalan, wala tayong aasahang pagbabago.

Dito tayo poposisyon. ’Yung pagod, ’yung pakiramdam na parang wala kang kalaban-laban, na parang nagawa mo na ang lahat pero kulang pa rin, ’yung pagnanasang makaraos ng taumbayan, bibigyan natin ng bago at positibong anyo. Gagawin natin itong paninindigan, gagawin nating enerhiya. Tatalunin natin ang luma at bulok na klase ng pulitika. Ibabalik natin sa kamay ng karaniwang Pilipino ang kakayahang magdala ng pagbabago.

Alam kong marami sa inyo ang ilang buwan nang kumikilos nang kusa tungo sa layuning ito. Ramdam na ramdam ko ang tiwalang kaloob ’nyo sa akin. Sinasabi ko ngayon: Buong-buo rin ang tiwala ko sa inyo. Kaya tinatawag ko kayo: Gisingin ang natutulog pang lakas.

Tumindig kayo; tinitiyak ko, mayroon ding titindig sa tabi ninyo. Kumausap ng labas sa nakasanayan; palawakin pa ang hanay. Ihayag ang katotohanan na sa kabila ng mga limitasyon, sa kabila ng panggigipit. Sa maliit na tanggapan pa lang natin dito sa Office of the Vice President, napakarami na nating nagawa para makatulong: ang mga pabahay, ang ayuda at medical at livelihood assistance, ang lingap sa mga nasalanta, ang pailaw at classrooms at dorms, ang Vaccine Express, Swab Cab, Bayanihan e-Konsulta, Bayanihan e-Skuwela, TrabaHOPE, Community Marts, free shuttle services, at mga libreng PPE at napakarami pang ibang nagawa gamit ang pinagsanib nating lakas.

Kung naipatupad natin ang lahat ng ito; kung nakarating ang tulong natin sa Agutaya, hanggang San Remigio, hanggang sa ground zero ng Marawi kahit ginigipit tayo, imagine kung ano pa ang kaya nating gawin, kung saan pa ang kaya nating marating, kung maitututok ang buong enerhiya ng gobyerno sa tangi nitong dapat iniintindi: ang kapakanan ng taumbayan.

Anim na taon ang nakaraan, tinanggap ko ang hamon na tumakbo sa pagka-bise presidente. Ngayon, sasabak tayo sa mas malaking laban. Panata ko ngayon: Ibubuhos ko nang buong-buo ang aking lakas, hindi lang hanggang sa halalan kundi hanggang sa mga natitirang araw ko, para ipaglaban ang Pilipinas ng ating mga pangarap – isang lipunan kung saan, kapag nagbanat ka ng buto, kapag ginawa mo ang lahat ng kaya mo, makaaasa ka sa ginhawa at pag-asenso; kung saan, kapag may nadapa, may sasalo sa iyo, may aakay sa iyo patayo; kung saan ang mga plano para sa edukasyon, transportasyon, pagkain, kalusugan, katarungang panlipunan ay naipapatupad dahil may gobyernong matino at mahusay, gobyernong tapat at may pananagutan, gobyernong tunay na inuuna ang interes ng taumbayan.

May landas tungo sa kinabukasang ito. Pero hindi ito maaabot sa pagwawalang-kibo kapag may nangyayaring hindi tama. Hindi ito puwedeng iasa sa iba habang nanonood ka lang; hindi puwedeng pumikit na lang at umasang pagdilat natin nagbago na ang mundo. Ang kinabukasan, pinipili, pinagsisikapan, ipinaglalaban. Kailangan nating piliing humakbang.

Heto ako ngayon, humahakbang. Ipaglalaban ko kayo hanggang dulo. Itataya ko ang lahat; ibubuhos ko ang lahat na kayang ibuhos. Sama-sama tayong tumaya sa laban na ito. Buong bansa tayong tumungo sa isang kinabukasang mas patas at mas makatao; kung saan ang bawat Pilipino ay may pagkakataong umasenso; kung saan ang lakas ng bawat isa ay nagiging nagkakaisang lakas ng lahat – lakas na dadaig sa anumang krisis, anumang hamon, lakas na magiging simula ng ating kolektibong pagbangon. Buong-buo ang tiwala ko, magtatagumpay tayo. Buong-buo pa rin ang pananalig ko sa Diyos at sambayanang Pilipino.

Maraming salamat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas.

Declaration of candidacy for the presidential elections of 2022, Leni Robredo

The past few days have been filled with solemn reflection. Thank you to all who supported me, prayed with me, and who patiently understood my discernment process for the 2022 elections.

There was no room for ego or self-interest in this process. The presidency is an enormous responsibility, and a decision whether to run for president or not cannot be based on ambition or outside prodding. When it comes to leadership, there should only be one consideration: What is best for our country?

This question takes on more gravity especially given the immense challenge of the pandemic. Many have lost their lives. Many have gone through the experience of having to do everything to save our loved ones; to put food on the table; to survive another day.

The road to today has been long. I had not planned to run. I was already thinking of heading back home to our province, where so many are also relying on me to help bring about change.

Over the past few weeks, we met with different individuals. I made it clear: I am ready to give way and to simply help. They also offered to join forces – as a candidate, or as part of their administration if they succeed. My reply: This is not about positions; this is not a mere transaction. The important thing is to unite – to align along principles, along our shared dreams for the country, and the path that must be taken to achieve these.

I likewise clarified: What is at stake are the lives and the future of the Filipino. Hospitals are filled to capacity, health workers are calling for a timeout, the jobless are going hungry. Meanwhile, billions upon billions of pesos went into questionable contracts while millions of Filipinos struggle.

We should all know by now: There is much hunger, suffering, and death because those in power have prioritized self-interest over the welfare of the Filipino. The lack of good governance lies at the root of our many problems. This needs to end.

And if we truly want to liberate ourselves from this situation, we should change not just the surnames of those in power; the corruption, the incompetence, the lack of compassion must be replaced by competence and integrity in leadership. We should be prepared to take out entirely the agendas, the interests, the very people and kind of politics that is the root of all that we are going through right now. If you will not take a clear line; if you are willing to compromise; if you can’t even say that what is wrong is wrong – then whose side are you really on?

Where I stand is clear: I am on the side of all who are doing what they can to lift themselves, their families, and their fellow human beings from this pandemic. Though our contexts may be different, the feeling of being in the margins should be familiar to all – when you grasp for a lifeline, when you just want to knock on any door, when you cry out to whomever might be able to hear: Help.

I am a mother not only to my three children, but to the whole country. And every mother, every parent, understands what they are willing to go through and sacrifice for their children. I remember the multiple cases of domestic abuse that I handled when I was a practicing lawyer and how my clients endured all the pain and abuse inflicted by their partners. When you ask them why they chose to suffer, the answer was constant: Their children.

And I remember when, finally, they chose to be free – when they found the courage to pack up, bring  their children, and take the first steps out the door. It is because they have realized that if they cannot find within themselves the resolve to leave, their children will only inherit their sufferings.

I am a mother who sees the suffering of my beloved country. I firmly believe: Love is not measured by forbearance alone but by a readiness to do battle.  Whoever loves must do battle for the beloved.

Today, I stand with full resolve: We must free ourselves from the current situation. I will fight. We will fight.

I offer myself as a candidate for the Presidency in the 2022 elections.

The challenge before us is clear: We have all seen the lies and harassment that others are capable of doing to reach their goals. They have the money, machinery, an entire infrastructure that can spread whichever story they choose to spread. But no amount of noise can ever drown out the truth: If the same kind of governance, the same kind of people triumphs in the coming elections, then we cannot expect change to happen.

This is where we make our stand. The people’s exhaustion; the feeling of utmost helplessness, of having done everything and still it isn’t enough; the yearning to get past the suffering – we will give this a new, and more positive form. We will transform it into conviction. Into energy. We will defeat the old and rotten brand of politics. We will return the capacity to bring change to the hands of the ordinary Filipino.

Many of you have been, on your own initiative, working towards this goal for the past few months. I feel the trust you have granted me. Let me tell you now: I also wholeheartedly trust you. I call on you now: Awaken the strength sleeping inside of you.

Take a stand, and I assure you, others will stand beside you. Reach out beyond your usual circles; expand our ranks. Tell the truth that despite the limitations, despite the attacks, our humble office here at the Office of the Vice President has been able to do so much to help those in need: Our housing projects, medical and livelihood assistance, our relief efforts for victims of disasters, our electrification projects, classrooms and dorms; the Vaccine Express, Swab Cab, Bayanihan e-Konsulta, Bayanihan e-Skuwela, TrabaHOPE, Community Marts, free shuttle services, free PPEs, and so many other initiatives that we were able to undertake because of our unified strength.

If we were able to do all of this; if we were able to reach and help the farthest communities despite the harassment, from Agutaya to San Remigio to Marawi’s ground zero; imagine how much more we can do, how much farther we can reach, if we can focus the entire energy of the government where it really should be focused: The welfare of the Filipino people.

Six years ago, I accepted the challenge to run for Vice President. Today, we will take on a bigger fight. I vow today: To pour all of my strength, not just until the elections but for the rest of my days, to the fight for the Philippines of our dreams – a society where every Filipino who toils can be assured of comfort and progress; where someone will catch you and help you up each time you fall. Where plans for education, transportation, food security, health, and social justice are concretized because government is competent and has integrity; because government is honest and accountable; because government truly puts the interest of the Filipino people front and center.

There is a path towards this future. But it cannot be achieved by choosing silence in the midst of wrongdoing. It cannot be left to others while we simply watch on; we cannot close our eyes and hope the world is changed when we wake. The future is something we choose, something we work for, something we fight for. We have to choose to step forward.

Here I am today, taking that step forward. I will fight for you all until the very end. I will put everything on the line; I will give everything I have to give. Let's place our stakes on this fight together. Let's move as a country towards a future that is more just and humane; where every Filipino has the chance to succeed; where the strength of each one becomes the singular strength of all – a strength that shall overcome any crisis, any challenge, a strength that shall be the foundation of our collective re-awakening. I trust without any doubt: We will be victorious. I remain steadfast and fully faithful in God and in the Filipino people.

Thank you. Long live the Philippines.

– Rappler.com