Tying pink ribbons around Quezon City during their send-off for their nominees who will file their certificates of candidacy (COC), Akbayan party-list formally endorsed on Wednesday, Oct. 6, the potential candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo for president in the May 2022 polls.
Their call, “Akbayan si Leni”–which means to drape one’s arm over Leni’s shoulders–was led by the party-list’s first nominee, Perci Cendaña; former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson and Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales; and Senator Risa Hontiveros.
“Sa lahat ng mga presidentiables, si VP Leni lamang ang masugid na nagtatanggol sa demokrasya at karapatang pantao sa harap ng madugong kampanya kontra droga (Out of all the presidentiables, only VP Leni earnestly fights for democracy and human rights in the face of the bloody drug war campaign),” Cendaña said in his speech.
“Wala ring bahid ng duda ang kredibilidad ni VP Leni bilang isang lider (The credibility of VP Leni as a leader leaves no doubt),” he added, citing that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) has attained the highest audit rating possible from the Commission on Audit (COA) in the last three years while the same agency flagged multi-billion government projects from other key agencies.
Robredo has yet to formalize her decision to run as president, but her office said she will make an “important announcement” on Thursday, Oct. 7, at 11 a.m at the Quezon City Reception House where she holds office.
Cendaña says Robredo will be “a true democratic opposition candidate.”
“Kaya ang panawagan ng partidong Akbayan, mag-organisa at kumilos tungo sa pagkakahalal ni VP Leni Robredo bilang susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas (So the call of Akbayan Party is to organize and move to elect VP Leni Robredo as the next president of the Philippines),” he said.
Cendaña noted that Robredo was their partner during her time in Congress in passing the legislation on Sangguniang Kabataan Reform and the Graphic Health Warning on Tobacco Products. She was also responsible for the passing of the People Empowerment Bill and Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill during her time in Congress.
“Among the list of presidential contenders, VP Leni is the clear democratic alternative. Filipino voters no longer have to settle for ‘pwede na’ candidates among the crop of former tyrant enablers, or watch helplessly as they fall prey to the schemes of truly evil leaders such as the Dutertes and Marcoses of this world,” he said in a separate statement.
“We now have the best candidate who can truly heal our fractured nation and lead us back to the path of democratic governance,” he stressed.
The Akbayan leaders said that Robredo is the “genuine democratic alternative who can end ‘Dutertismo’, thwart the complete return of the Marcoses to power and return the country to the path of democracy”.
Even though there were reports that some of Robredo’s supporters have grown weary of her long discernment process, Akbayan said it respects the Vice President’s decision to try to unify the opposition.
“We do not see her process as a sign of hesitation, but of strong leadership to bring together a truly broad and diverse coalition of democratic forces. We are confident that she will respond favorably to the challenge of presidential leadership,” the group said.
The activity was attended by leaders from the Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Akbayan Youth, Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), LGBT groups and networks, LMS-SENTRO, and various representatives from informal settlers’ communities and organizations.