Robredo questions fellow candidates’ principles as she reveals reason for failed 'unity' talks

Published October 7, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, October 7, announced her 2022 presidential bid, and cited the reasons why unity talks with other “personalities” failed.

Vice President Leni Robredo announces her 2022 presidential bid on October 7, 2021. (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

During her speech, Robredo said that some candidates appeared willing to compromise their principles and would not call out what’s wrong in today’s government.

“Kung hindi ka lilinya nang malinaw; kung makikipagkompromiso ka; kung hindi mo man lang kayang sabihin [na] mali ang mali—na kaninong panig ka ba talaga (If you are not going to align yourself clearly; if you are going to compromise; if you cannot even say what’s wrong—which side are you taking?),” she said.

The vice president revealed talking to different “personalities” the past weeks and even offering to back down and simply help them.

Some, she said, invited her to join them in their slate or as part of their future administration, but Robredo stressed the unity talks were not a “transaction” for her.

“Ang tugon ko, hindi ito tungkol sa posisyon; hindi tayo nakikipag-usap para makipagtransaksyon. Ang pinakamahalaga, magkaisa kami—sa prinsipyo, sa pangarap para sa bansa, at sa landas na dapat tahakin tungo sa katuparan ng mga ito (My response is this is not about a position; we are not talking to transact. The most important is for us to unite—in principle, in our dreams for the country, and the path that we need to take to fulfill these),” Robredo stressed.

Her path to finally deciding to run was not an easy one, the vice president shared, thanking her supporters and those who prayed for and with her.

“Sa prosesong ito, walang naging lugar ang ego o pansarili kong interes. Mabigat na responsibilidad ang pagka-Pangulo, at hindi ito puwedeng ibase sa ambisyon o sa pag-uudyok ng iba. Pagdating sa pamumuno, iisa lang dapat ang konsiderasyon: Ano ba ang pinakamabuti para sa bansa natin (In this process, ego and self-interest have no place. The responsibility of being a President is heavy, and this cannot be based on ambition or persuasion from others. When it comes to leadership, there is only one thing to consider: what will be the best for our country),” she said.

READ: ‘Buong-buo ang loob ko’: Robredo announces bid for presidency

It is clear to Robredo, the leader of the opposition, where she stands: she is on the side of those in the fringes of society or those she likes to call “laylayan.”

Her declaration ended months of speculation during which she was more focused on uniting the opposition because she believes this to be the only way to defeat whoever the Duterte administration anoints.

“Buong buo ang loob ko ngayon, kailangan natin palayain ang sarili mula sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon. Lalaban ako. Lalaban tayo. Inihahain ko ang aking sarili bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo sa halalan ng 2022 (My resolve is firm, we need to free ourselves from the current situation. I will fight. We will fight. I am offering myself as a candidate for the presidency in the elections in 2022),” she announced at the Quezon City Reception House, where she holds office.

While she never intended to run as president, and for a while, even considering the option of going back to her home province of Camarines Sur to serve there, Robredo stressed that she is also a mother who sees her country suffering.

“Naniniwala ako: Ang pag-ibig, nasusukat hindi lang sa pagtitiis, kundi sa kahandaang lumaban, kahit gaano kahirap, para matapos na ang pagtitiis. Ang nagmamahal, kailangang ipaglaban ang minamahal (I believe: Love cannot be measured by sacrifice alone, but also on one’s readiness to fight, no matter how hard, to end the suffering. Those who love must fight for those whom one loves),” she said.

The opposition leader acknowledged many of her supporters, some of whom have been waiting outside her office where they tied blue and pink ribbons, saying that she has felt their support and trust.

READ: ‘Robredo for president’ fully supported by 1Sambayan; ‘The fight is on’

“Sinasabi ko ngayon: Buong-buo rin ang tiwala ko sa inyo. Kaya tinatawag ko kayo: Gisingin ang natutulog pang lakas (I am telling you now. My faith in you is as strong. That’s why I’m calling on you now: awaken whatever remaining strength you have),” she said.

Robredo assured her supporters that she will stand by them, but asked them to reach out and share what they know about her office’s programs and projects.

The announcement came after opposition coalition 1Sambayan endorsed her candidacy on Thursday, Sept. 30, and after failed attempts to unify other presidential hopefuls including Manila Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson, all of whom have already filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COC).