2022 PH presidential race

CNN PH challenges Leni Robredo, ‘Queen of Receipts,’ with its own ‘resibo’

Mara Cepeda
CNN PH challenges Leni Robredo, ‘Queen of Receipts,’ with its own ‘resibo’

FAMILY. Vice President Leni Robredo showcases her competence and credibility at the CNN Philippines Presidential Debate held on Sunday, February 27, at the Quadricentennial Pavilion of the University of Sto. Tomas.

VP Leni Media Bureau

Presidential candidate Leni Robredo's own daughters are amused when CNN Philippines served its own receipt for something Robredo said in 2016

What better way to test the mettle of a standout candidate in your debate than by confronting her with what she says is her strength – “resibo” or proof of her leadership skills?

That’s exactly what CNN Philippines did with Vice President Leni Robredo during its highly anticipated presidential debate on Sunday, February 27.

To supporters, Robredo practically owned the show, with her crisp and comprehensive answers rooted in her track record – proof of being able to deliver even in times of crises. In modern Filipino parlance, dropping “resibo” or a receipt means providing proof.

Candidates were asked, “Where were you in the aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown?”

Robredo had to speak much faster than usual to cite within the 90-second time limit all of the initiatives of the Office of the Vice President, prompting netizens to compare her to American rapper Nicki Minaj.

But debate hosts Pia Hontiveros-Pagkalinawan and Pinky Webb had receipts of their own to show. 

Person, Human, Hand

In 2016, in a similar debate hosted by the network for vice presidential candidates at the time, Robredo said “no” when they asked if she had any plans to run for president in the future. 

Robredo’s rival, the late dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also said no. Now, both Robredo and Marcos are gunning for the presidency. 

So what changed?

Robredo could not help but smile with amusement – and so did her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian, who had a laugh over CNN Philippines giving their mother a dose of her own medicine. Sort of.

“Nice one, CNN Philippines,” tweeted Jillian with an amused emoji.

“Gobyernong tapat, may resibo lahat (In an honest government, everything is backed by receipts),” said the eldest Aika, putting her own spin to Robredo’s campaign slogan.

“HAHA a receipt for the queen of receipts,” added Tricia, posting a GIF of her mother casually waving to the camera. 

CNN Philippines even went on commercial break to amp up the suspense. But Robredo was undeterred. 

She said that she was being honest when she said she wasn’t interested in the presidency six years ago. The VP race was supposed to be the last national election she would join; she even made the promise to her daughters.

But everything changed when President Rodrigo Duterte allowed disinformation and propaganda to thrive under his watch. Robredo saw how these lies just boosted the old and dirty politics that had prevailed in the country for a long time, with the weaponization of the internet targeting government critics like her.

She argued this raised the stakes in the 2022 presidential elections, that’s why she wanted all dissenting forces against Duterte to unite and defeat this threat. But we all know what happened there. When unity talks failed, Robredo decided to run, her platform focused on leading a clean and honest government that strives for excellence and gives ordinary folks a seat at the table.

“Sinubukan ko na yayain ‘yung halos lahat na i-set aside ‘yung aming mga hindi pagkakaintindihan o pagkakaiba ng plano para mag-usap-usap, pero hindi ako naging matagumpay. Kaya kumandidato ako,” Robredo said. 

(I tried my best to convince them to set aside our misunderstandings or differences in our plans so we could talk, but I failed. That’s why I decided to run.)

Robredo said this in the presence of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson – the men she wanted to join forces with months ago but who are now her opponents in the heated presidential race. – Rappler.com

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 mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.