Vice President Leni Robredo has never been mum about possible plans to run for local office in her hometown of Camarines Sur, and a seemingly harmless social media post might add fuel to the rumors that she may not run for president in the May 2022 polls.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) confirmed that the vice president has registered herself on the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) after Facebook posts showed Robredo getting her biometrics taken at the PhilSys registration center on Tuesday, May 4, in Magarao, Camarines Sur.
What many might have missed is the fact that Robredo is from Naga City. She was born and raised there and until the last elections in 2019, cast her vote at the Tabuco Central School in Naga City.
Last month, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) slammed as fake news rumors circulating that Robredo applied for a transfer of her voter’s registration from Naga City to Barangay Carangcang in Magarao, Camarines Sur.
Robredo’s office said the vice president remains to be a voter in Naga City, which is an independent component city.
Independent component cities are cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting for provincial elective officials. Residents of an independent component city also cannot run for a provincial elective post such as the governorship.
Despite the denial from the OVP, Facebook user Boyet Habana, who is the barangay secretary, confirmed that Robredo is a resident of Brgy. Carangcang.
“Yes, she’s from here in our barangay,” he replied in Bicol to two netizens.
Robredo got her barangay clearance, one of the secondary requirements for the issuance of the PhilSys ID, from Brgy. Carangcang in Magarao. An accompanying photo showed the vice president in front of the barangay hall with some officials.
According to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), a barangay certificate of residency or barangay clearance for the issuance of a government identification card can only be issued to a resident of the barangay.
During her visit to the town, Robredo also met with Magurao Mayor Yipyip Señar. A photo of them in front of the municipality’s Tourism Information Office was posted on Facebook.
The Manila Bulletin validated with the Philsys Registry Office via its hotline that it has a registration center located at ALDP Bldg. along Roxas Avenue Diversion Road in Barangay Triangulo, Naga City.
Magarao is around eight kilometers away from Naga City, where Robredo and her husband, former Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo, made a name for themselves.
The vice president has lived all her life in Naga City and attended school there at the Universidad de Sta. Isabel. She left to pursue an economics degree at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, but went back to Naga to study law at the University of Nueva Caceres a few years after she married the late former Naga City mayor.
In 2013, she defeated Nelly Villafuerte of the powerful Villafuerte political clan as representative of Camarines Sur’s 3rd congressional district.
If news is to be believed that she plans to runs as governor of Camarines Sur next year, her decision to transfer to a barangay outside Naga City seems to be in preparation for that.
Her supporters have been vocal about wanting her to run as president with some even offering to start raising funds for her.
“I hope she would not be persuaded by local politicians who have a personal interest in convincing her to run as governor. She’s at the top now. Why are they pulling her down?” one Facebook user commented in Bicol.
Robredo repeatedly said her doors are open to run as president or for a local office. She cited the lack of financial resources as one of the reasons why she might not run as president in next year’s polls.
She lags behind pre-campaign presidential surveys, often only placing fifth or sixth, behind presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, Senators Grace Poe and Manny Pacquiao, and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.