Private life important for politicians, says Robredo

Vice President Leni Robredo tries to maintain a sense of normalcy in her family life even as she navigates the often turbulent arena of politics. 


“I think for politicians like us, it is very important to have a private life. It is very important to have a private life away from your political life,” the opposition leader said on the Spotify podcast “Wake Up With Jim and Saab” on March 29.

The vice president observed that most politicians lose themselves in politics. 

This is something that she got from her husband, former Interior Secretary and Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in August 2012. 

“I didn’t see that in my husband. For him, it was easy to step back. So, iniisip ko lang siguro (what I’m thinking maybe) if I exert effort in trying to maintain as much normalcy in my life as possible, it would be easy for me also to make decisions to step back if I need to,” Robredo said. 

The lady official gets this sense of normalcy from taking care of her kids, cooking dinner “90 percent of the time” except if she has a prior commitment, and even playing Sudoku. 

“I enjoy cooking for my children,” she shared.

Robredo has three daughters—Aika, Tricia, and Jillian. Aika works for a non-government organization, Tricia is a doctor, and Jillian is studying Biomolecular Science under the New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

In the past, her daughters shared some of the vice president’s recipes, particularly the chicken pastel she learned to cook from a local celebrity’s blog. 

The vice president said she had a scheduled routine of her activities but it changed since the coronavirus pandemic last year. 

Whereas before she usually starts her day at 5:30 in the morning, this changed to between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. because she doesn’t have to go to the office as early as she had to before. 

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) has been operating with a skeleton workforce, so Robredo said she was “not here in the office as long as I used to.”

“Dati nakakalabas ako madilim na (Before, I go home when it’s already dark). We make it to a point between 5 to 6 in the evening makauwi na iyong mga tao (the people can go home). We shuttle them now. If I’m here late hindi rin sila nakakauwi, hinihintay nila ako (they won’t be able to go home because they have to wait for me),” she added. 

While the whole day is for her work as the country’s second top official, Robredo said she spends her evenings cooking for her kids and reading The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Economist, which her daughters have subscriptions to.