Despite Vice President Leni Robredo’s personal doubts about her own viability as a presidential candidate in the upcoming May 2022 elections, she is still the opposition’s symbolic leader who is considered a strong presidential contender, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Thursday, July 22.
Hontiveros said this in response to Robredo’s admission she is aware of her poor survey ratings which is holding her back from making a decision on whether or not to run against President Duterte’s successor in next year’s polls.
Robredo, who has yet to declare her bid for the presidency, said in a televised interview last Tuesday, admitted that her low rating in a Pulse Asia survey about Filipinos’ preferred presidential candidates “was a big deal.”
The survey showed President Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as the top pick.
“I think it is very responsible of her, being the highest opposition leader, to weigh things, to mull the possibility of an alternative (candidate), but until now, I think she is still physically and symbolically one of the key figures that I believe the people should consider,” Hontiveros said in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.
“For sure it will be a leap of faith (if she decides to run) but VP Leni’s faith is deep and I believe in her because I’ve experienced her strong faith…I have full faith in her,” she stressed.
The senator, who is a member of the opposition and the Senate minority bloc, however said she still also respects Robredo’s need to consider alternatives.
“But until the last moment, I know that she is the strongest possible contender,” she said.
“And she is still also the strongest—if not kingmaker or queenmaker—who can strengthen and unite one non-administration candidate for president,” she emphasized.
If Robredo fully declines to run, Hontiveros said she is willing to support a presidential candidate who is committed to end the current government’s malgovernance.
“If VP Leni does not run, I will support a candidate or a united front of candidates who are committed to end this type of terrible malgovernance we are experiencing for half a decade now into this terrible pandemic and recession,” the lawmaker said.