2025 Philippine elections

Is Leni Robredo running in the 2025 polls?

Kaycee Valmonte

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Is Leni Robredo running in the 2025 polls?

COMMENCEMENT. The University of the Philippines in Cebu held its commencement exercises on the open field of the campus on Friday afternoon, July 21.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Liberal Party president Edcel Lagman says what's certain, for now, is that the former vice president will help campaign for the senatorial slate of the LP and their allies

Former vice president Leni Robredo is reportedly eyeing a return to politics, this time on a smaller stage: the mayoral race in her hometown, Naga City.

Ang last namin na pag-uusap, ay siya ay tatakbo as mayor ng Naga City upang pagpatuloy ang programa ng kanyang late husband,” Liberal Party president Edcel Lagman said in an interview with the media on Thursday, June 20, in response to questions.

(The last time we talked, she said she will be running as mayor of Naga City so she can continue the program of her late husband.)

Robredo is still part of the political group, despite distancing herself from it during the 2022 polls.

However, her former spokesman, Barry Gutierrez, said her possible political comeback is still up in the air.

“[Former] VP Leni has not made a final decision on a local run, so a conversation on what went into this supposed ‘decision’ might be somewhat premature,” Gutierrez told Rappler.

Robredo served as Camarines Sur 3rd District representative for one term before she was convinced to run for vice president in 2016.

Her late husband, Jesse Robredo, served as Naga City mayor for a total of six terms, leaving a legacy of good governance. In 2000, Jesse became the first Filipino mayor to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service because of his work in Naga.

Many groups have been urging the former vice president to run for the Senate in 2025, or three years after she led an emotionally-charged, volunteer-driven bid for the presidency against Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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The grassroots presidential campaign that backed her inspired Robredo to put up a volunteer network and the Angat Buhay Foundation. But those who took part in her campaign think she could serve the country in another way through public service.

“For us in Akbayan, we’re really hopeful she would answer the call,” Akbayan president Rafaela David said in a Rappler Talk episode on Thursday, adding that it does not matter if she runs for a local position or a national post – as long as she brings with her the brand of leadership she displayed when she was vice president.

‘Preference for local post’

There have been many speculations on whether Robredo would consider another position in public office, even after losing with 14 million votes against Marcos’ record-30 million.

Talks began after Robredo transferred her voter registration records back to Naga City in April. She previously transferred her registration to Magarao in Camarines Sur back in 2021.

“She has, in several meetings with various supporters, expressed her preference for running for a local post. This might be where congressman Edcel is coming from,” Gutierrez said.

“But she has yet to make a final decision on the matter, and will make the announcement herself when that time comes,” he added.

The Liberal Party, which already bared some of the opposition’s Senate bets for the 2025 polls, said they were still convincing Robredo to run for a position in the upper chamber just last February.

According to a Tugon ng Masa (TNM) survey conducted from March 11 to 14, Robredo would not make the cut for the 12 open Senate seats. As of the first quarter of 2024, the former vice president ranked at just 19 among the prospective candidates.

A Pulse Asia survey on potential senatorial bets also held in March ranked her outside the Magic 12, at 19th to 36th place.

However, what’s for sure is that Robredo will be joining the campaign trail for 2025.

Siya naman ay sasama sa national campaign para sa senatorial slate ng Liberal Party at ng mga ka-alyansa ng Liberal Party,” Lagman said. (She will join the national campaign for the Liberal Party’s senatorial slate and our allies.)

What about a Cabinet position?

But the former vice president is in demand.

After Vice President Sara Duterte stepped down from her post Department of Education secretary, Robredo’s supporters said she could fill the seat that Duterte vacated.

But to even consider this, she would have to be offered the position first – a pipe dream, given her history with Marcos with whom she had bitter exchanges bookended by two elections: the 2016 vice presidential race and the 2022 presidential elections. Marcos had filed an electoral protest against Robredo’s 2016 victory, which the Supreme Court junked in 2021.

When asked by reporters about Robredo possibly being tapped as Duterte’s replacement at DepEd, Lagman said: “‘Yan ay call ni Leni. Wala kaming control diyan at hindi namin ini-expect na siya ay aalukin ng Pangulo.”

(That’s Leni’s call. We don’t have control over that and we also do not expect the President to offer her the position.) – Rappler.com

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Kaycee Valmonte

Kaycee Valmonte is a multimedia reporter who covers politics in the House of Representatives and public health.