2022 Philippine Elections

Salceda backs Robredo; Vice President thanks unity of Bicol politicians

Rhaydz Barcia

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Salceda backs Robredo; Vice President thanks unity of Bicol politicians

VP Robredo waving at an estimated 4,000 supporters gathered at the Legazpi City Penaranda Park.

Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

The opposition candidate says it is not just in Bicol where politicians are crossing party lines to support her presidential bid
Salceda backs Robredo; Vice President thanks unity of Bicol politicians

ALBAY, Philippines – Lawmaker Joey Salceda, the Bicolano politician who once egged on Davao City mayor Sara Duterte to gun for the presidency, on Wednesday, February 9, bared his final choice – Vice President and opposition presidential candidate Leni Robredo.

Thousands of supporters waited patiently at the Peñaranda Park in Legazpi City for hours, under a scorching sun and humidity. The vice president rewarded their patience with a rousing speech that fired up hopes of electing the country’s first Bicolano president.

“Yesterday I was in Camarines Sur. This morning, I was in Camarines Norte and in Sorsogon,” said Robredo, who spoke in Bicolano. “Today, I’m in Albay and I’m grateful because even though it’s too hot, you are here with me.”

Salceda backs Robredo; Vice President thanks unity of Bicol politicians

She thanked Bicolano officials who cut through political lines to support her candidacy.

Robredo said she now sees the same pattern in other areas, including Mindanao, which could mean that “Filipinos might send a Bicolano president  to Malacanang.”

Earlier, Robredo said the display of solidarity this campaign season contrasted with what dogged her during the 2016 vice presidential race, which she also won.

Dances, songs, and calls for unity and a flexing of the Bicol regional vote filled up the hours before Robredo’s arrival. The crowd maintained its high energy until Robredo’s caravan entered the park around 1:30 pm.

Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal,  the first chief executive in Albay to openly back Robredo’s bid, urged Bicolano voters and their families, and all local politicians regardless of political party, to rally behind the candidacy of Robredo.

The mayor, who is from the Koalisyon Ng Nagkakaisang Pilipinas (KNP) described Robredo “as our last card to change the country for the good.”

Under a scorching sun, thousands gather early to wait for Vice President and presidential candidate Leni Robredo in Legazpi City, Albay. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler
Salceda backs Leni

Salceda, the Albay 2nd district Representative, told Rappler on the sidelines of the event, “ I made the decision this morning,” to finally back Robredo.

Albay 3rd District Representative Fernando Cabredo, the provincial head of the National Unity Party, sat beside Salceda, who has jumped across various political blocs through the years and is currently with the PDP-Laban.

Albay 2nd district Rep Joey Salceda (center) formal backs VP Leni Robredo’s presidential bid. From left, former Ifugao representative Teddy Baguilat Jr, Albay 3rd district Rep Fernando Cabredo, and Legazpi mayoralty candidate Geraldine Rosal. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

Salceda, however, refused to answer questions about his vice presidential bet. On stage, he and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Robredo’s running mate, faced away from each other even when they were not talking to other people.

As late as November 2021, when Robredo had already filed her certificate of candidacy (COC), Salceda was still pushing Davao City mayor Sara Duterte for the presidency. 

Even when she filed her COC as re-electionist in the Dutertes’ home turf, Salceda insisted she would later run for the land’s highest post.

Duterte, instead, accepted the invitation of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to join Lakas-CMD and settled as the vice presidential running mate of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The PDP-Laban has since adopted Duterte as its vice presidential bet.

Why Leni?

Asked why he chose Robredo, Salceda said, “among all the presidentiables she’s best for the country. She has no vested interest to protect. She’s just guided by her heart, a genuine desire to serve the people.”

The lawmaker and former Albay governor stressed that he chose Robredo not because she is Bicolano, but because she is competent, credible, and the candidate “with the demonstrated capacity of caring for poor people.”

VP Robredo waving at an estimated 4,000 supporters gathered at the Legazpi City Penaranda Park. Photo by Rhaydz Barcia/Rappler

The lawmaker, who shared an economics background with Robredo, said the Vice President is one of the most efficient and competent officials.

‘Not many people know that Leni was actually one of the authors of cutting edge legislation on tax incentive management and administration or Republic Act. No. 10708,” said Salceda. The law was enacted in 2015.

Salceda also stressed Robrbedo’s track record for good governance.

“Good governance will be good for the economy,” the lawmaker said. As Vice President, Robredo proved she has her spending priorities right, “with her judicious use of scarce government resources.”

Because Robredo leads by example, and takes pains to involve groups and individuals in governance, “she can unify at a time when we need to make sacrifices for the sake of the nation,” Salceda said. – Rappler.com

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