Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Friday said his decision to run for vice president in the upcoming May 2022 elections is anchored on the belief it is a “call of duty.”
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party and a known stalwart of the opposition slate, said he had no plans to run for the second top government position, and was already gearing for another Senate term, but he felt it would be rude for him to turn down Vice President Leni Robredo’s offer to be her running mate in the 2022 elections when he did everything to convince her to run for president.
That is why, he finally relented and agreed to file his certificate of candidacy (COC), running for vice president, and not seek a Senate reelection, before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) today.
“Matapos ang anim na buwang puno ng malalim na pagninilay, nagdesisyon si ma’am Leni na ihain ang kanyang sarili bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo sa 2022. Ako naman ngayon ang hiniling ni ma’am Leni na sumabak din (After six months of reflecting, Maam Leni finally made a decision and ran for president in the 2022 elections. Now, she asked me to also join her),” Pangilinan said in his statement.
“Sa ganitong sitwasyon naisip ko na dahil isa ako sa mga nag-udyok sa kanya na tumakbo, at isantabi ang kanyang sariling kagustuhan, ngayon siya naman ang humihingi ng tulong, isantabi ko rin ang aking kagustuhan. Baka kapag sinabi ko na mas masaya ako sa pagtakbo sa Senado, eh balikan niya sa akin yung sinabi ko six months ago (With this situation, I thought, I badgered her to run and set aside her personal wants, and now that she is asking for my help, I can’t tell her I want to prioritize what I want. She might get back to me with the words I said six months ago, if I told her I’d be happy to run for the Senate instead),” the senator added.
“Wala akong kawala. No choice, ika nga…tinawag tayo ng tungkulin. (It’s) a call of duty—hindi lang kay Ma’am Leni, hindi lang sa Partido, koalisyon o hanay ng mga supporters, pero sagradong tungkulin sa buong bansa (We have no choice. It’s a call of duty—not only for VP Leni, not only for the party, not only for the coalition or supporters, but it’s a call of duty for the nation),” Pangilinan stressed.
The senator said he already talked about his decision to run for vice president with his family, especially with his wife—actress, singer and showbiz personality—Sharon Cuneta.
“Hindi madaling baguhin ang mga plano nang last minute. Ipinagdasal naman namin nang taimtim ang linaw ng puso at pag-iisip. Mabigat na desisyon ito para sa akin at sa aking pamilya. Mabigat na tungkulin. Mas malaking hamon sa kampanya (It’s not easy to change plans last minute. We prayed hard for it with all our hearts and minds. It’s a difficult decision for me and my family. It’s a huge responsibility. The challenges to campaigning is greater),” he said.
“Pero ang naging kongklusyon ko: Mabigat nga ito, pero higit na mas mabigat ang pinagdadaanan ni Ma’am Leni at ng kanyang pamilya (But I arrived at the conclusion that: this is difficult, but it is nothing to what VP Leni and her family will go through alone),” he pointed out.
That is why, Pangilinan said, he has decided to take on that shared responsibility of lifting the nation out of its present struggles and help usher in a new brand of leadership desperately needed by the land.
“Nagtitiwala ako sa Diyos. Nagtitiwala ako sa sambayanang Pilipino — lalabas ang ating tapang, makahahanap ng lakas ng loob, makahuhugot ng liwanag ng puso, para iwaksi ang baluktot na pamamahala, at kapalit nito ay magtatalaga ng mga pinunong tapat at totoo, may puso at tibay, matino at mahusay (We have faith in God. I have faith in the Filipino people—we can find the courage to fight, enlighten our hearts so we can remove a corrupted leadership and put in place a leader that will serve truthfully, with strength and the heart, who is wise and efficient),” the lawmaker stressed.