WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Vice President Leni Robredo is set to announce her much-awaited political plans for the 2022 elections on Thursday, October 7, at 11 am (Manila time).
For months, the Robredo had kept allies and potential rivals guessing on what she would do in 2022.
She took pains meeting with other possible presidential contenders in a bid to build a bigger coalition for all dissenting voices against President Rodrigo Duterte, but unity talks have so far been futile.
Bookmark and refresh this page for updates – in text, video, and social media posts – on Robredo’s official announcement about her election plans.
Pangilinan on becoming Robredo’s running mate: ‘Call of duty’
Senator Kiko Pangilinan struggled to hold back his tears he faced the nation for the first time as the running mate of Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2022 elections on Friday, October 8.
He did not plan to gun for the second highest position in the land. In fact, Pangilinan had been spending the past months preparing for his reelection bid in the Senate, where he was supposed to run on a pro-agriculture platform.
Robredo unfazed by Duterte’s threats
On President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat that he’d be a “nightmare” for the Vice President if she runs, Robredo said, “Hindi ko na ‘yun problema.”
“Mas marami namang importanteng bagay na kailangan tutukan. Ang suggestion ko, pandemic na lang and tutukan kasi ‘yun naman and problema natin,” Robredo said.
On Robredo’s “last minute” announcement to run as president, she said she does not see this as a hurdle that could affect her run. Her previous runs were also “last minute,” she said.
Senator Kiko Pangilinan adds: “The contrary is true. ‘Yung mga huling nagdeklara, ‘yun pa ang nanalo.”
Is Robredo concerned that she might not have the backing of the business sector?
Robredo says what’s more important is that she gets the support of Filipinos, saying business will adjust to what people want later on.
“We were able to survive one and half years doing COVID-19 response operations because of the help of not only some business but the help of ordinary Filipinos,” she said.
Robredo on low ratings: ‘Sanay na ako sa mahirap na laban’
Robredo says she is all about the “power of the long game.” She cites her past electoral campaigns and how she’s been able to topple dynasties and come out first in tight races.
Robredo first slayed the well-entrenched Villafuerte political dynasty in the 2013 congressional race in Camarines Sur’s 3rd District. Then, in 2016, Robredo responded to calls for her to run as vice president, besting five other male incumbent senators for the post despite starting with single-digit ratings in pre-election surveys.
Facing an electoral protest filed by her rival, dictator’ son and former senator “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, Robredo emerged victorious with a Supreme Court ruling unanimously junking the protest.
What might Robredo and Pangilinan’s campaign look like?
Robredo says they’ll wait for the Commission on Elections rules for details but that priority will still be pandemic response efforts of the her office. “I’m still Vice President until June 30.”
Pangilinan points to this small gathering as a possible indication of how things might look like. A small number of supporters and media are gathered and the press forum is being livestreamed for the event.
Is Robredo concerned about splitting votes with presidential aspirant Isko Moreno?
“Ang paniniwala ko, iba yung base namin,” Robredo said. She cites basic differences seen in their talks, addresses, aspirations for the country, and how to achieve these. “I don’t think pareho ang aming voting bloc.”
(In my view, our bases are different. I don’t think we have the same voting bloc.)
She declines to give details on unity talks. “I have great respect for all the people I talk to kasi kung wala naman hindi ko naman sila pupuntahan (because if I didn’t then I wouldn’t have gone to them).”
How are Robredo and Pangilinan’s families holding up?
Robredo said this was one of the hardest decisions she had to make. From the start, her children have always been averse to Robredo entering politics, even when she first ran as vice president. When her name was floated as a presidential candidate in 2022, Robredo said her daughters reminded her, “Mama, may promise ka ha na last na yan (you promised that would be the last),” referring to her 2016 run.
Despite the struggle, Robredo said that difficulties aside, her daughter have a strong sense of duty.
“Alam nila that this is the right thing to do. Alam nila na kahit mabigat sa kanila ay susuporta sila 100%,” Robredo said.
(They know this is the right thing to do. They know that despite it being a heavy burden, they will support it 100%.)
Pangilinan echoes Robredo, saying an election run is always harder on the family of a candidate.
“It was not easy, we prayed about it,” he said. But in some ways, Pangilinan said it was easier for his family to accept this run compared to 2016, citing the stakes in the 2022 presidential race.