2022 Philippine Elections

‘Panatag ‘yung aking loob:’ Robredo calm, composed after voting

Mara Cepeda
‘Panatag ‘yung aking loob:’ Robredo calm, composed after voting

THE ROBREDOS. Presidential candidate VP Leni Robredo poses for a photo together with her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian while eating kinalas at an eatery in Naga City on May 9, 2022.

Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Presidential candidate VP Leni Robredo drives her daughters around in Camarines Sur and prays at the Amang Hinulid Chapel

Vice President Leni Robredo is facing the toughest battle of her political career and yet the lone female presidential contender didn’t seem to have any nerves when she faced the media on Monday, May 9.

Robredo waited for over two hours before she could cast her vote at the Carangcang Elementary School in Magarao, Camarines Sur, in the high-stakes elections that would decide President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor. 

It has been a gruelling 90-day campaign, which saw Robredo visiting multiple provinces in a span of a week just to catch up to the survey frontrunner, the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

But Robredo is at peace, knowing she did whatever she could in her bid for Malacañang – and she did it without resorting to the dirty politics she promises to reject if she becomes president. 

“Masaya na finally natapos na ‘yung campaign period. Masaya na nabigyan ako ng pagkakataon na gawin ‘yung lahat na puwedeng gawin na hindi nag-resort sa kahit anong hindi maganda,” said Robredo.

(I am happy because finally, the campaign period is over. I am happy because I was given the chance to do everything we could without resorting to doing anything foul.)

“Pumunta ako dito ngayon sa botohan nang tahimik, panatag ‘yung aking loob (I came here today calm and composed),” she added. 

Robredo saw a groundswell of support for her presidential bid in the last few days of the campaign, with tens of thousands of attendees becoming a staple in her grand rallies across provinces – even in known enemy bailiwicks. She sparked the so-called “pink revolution” in 2022, with her massive volunteer base defying traditional campaigns.

But she left much of the election day monitoring to her team of lawyers and staff, led by veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal in Pasay City. 

She instead spent the rest of Monday in the company of those closest to her – her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian, their family and friends, and her staff from the Office of the Vice President who are expected to fly to Camarines Sur after voting in their respective precincts. 

True to form, the Robredo family enjoyed a hearty lunch of kinalas – a noodle dish loved by Bicolanos – at a local eatery, where they ate without much fanfare alongside other customers. Robredo, however, did grant requests for selfies just before she left the eatery. 

DRIVING ROBREDO. Presidential candidate and Vice President Leni Robredo greets supporters from the driver’s seat of their car while her youngest daughter Jillian watches on. Mara Cepeda/Rappler

Robredo also seized the opportunity to drive their family-owned sedan, something the presidential candidate has not been able to do much on the campaign trail. 

She drove her kids to the Amang Hinulid Chapel in Calabanga, where they all prayed together while touching the image of the dead Jesus Christ. 

Robredo is a devotee of the Amang Hinulid. On September 30, 2021, days before she announced her decision to run for president, Robredo was also seen praying in this chapel.

‘Panatag ‘yung aking loob:’ Robredo calm, composed after voting

Robredo was born and raised in Naga City, but she has since moved to the nearby town of Magarao, where she voted on Monday.

This is her safe place now, where Robredo relishes the quieter, more restful life away from all the noise. On the most unnerving day of her political life, Robredo is content and confident. She is home. – 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.