Vice President Leni Robredo’s toughness cannot be questioned, Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte said on Monday, June 14, as he defended his partymate against Senator Panfilo Lacson’s remarks.
The secretary-general of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), Congressman Belmonte said that the vice president is “way, way tougher” and this is obvious to those who have interacted with her.
”Alam ng mga talagang may kilala kay VP Leni (Those who really know VP Leni knows): She’s way, way tougher than she’s portrayed.”
The lawmaker believes that “it takes toughness to travel to far-flung areas to help” when she was a human rights lawyer.
“It takes toughness to enter congressional politics and win against a dynasty. It took toughness to run and win against Bongbong Marcos,” he said.
Belmonte was referring to Robredo’s win against the powerful Villafuerte clan when she ran as congresswoman in 2013 and her win against the scion of the dictator, former President Ferdinand Marcos, in 2016.
“Alam ito ng kahit sinong naka-interact na siya (Anyone who has interacted with her knows this). Don’t discount Leni Robredo’s toughness. Hindi laging kailangan pa-macho para maging tunay na strong (You don’t always need to be macho to be truly strong),” he noted.
On Monday, Lacson said that although he wishes the vice president the best of luck after being nominated by opposition coalition 1Sambayan, he does not believe that “goodness of the heart” is the only criteria to being president.
“In my book if the goodness of the heart is single criterion to elect a (president), I think she’s in it to win it . . . Kailangan may (There should be) toughness. She’s a very decent person. Alam natin ang ginagawa niya (We know that what she’s doing) is to help,” he added.
The senator, who is also eyeing the presidency, said he is not campaigning for Robredo but just airing his “personal opinion.”
Lacson was also invited by 1Sambayan to submit his name for nomination, but he declined because of differences in opinion with 1Sambayan convenor retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on the Anti-Terror Law, which Lacson co-authored and helped pass.
But Belmonte pointed to another situation that showed Robredo’s strength.
He said that when the vice president was appointed as a drug czar, “she was so tough on drugs that even the admin had to fold and take her out.”
The vice president had a brief stint as the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Illegal Drugs (ICAD) as a challenge from President Duterte. She accepted the position on November 6, 2019, but was fired by the Chief Executive after 18 days.
Belmonte said Robredo was the lone woman in meetings filled with “macho military men” during her time at ICAD.