If the Palace race is akin to courting someone, then presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo tried to woo Ilonggos on Saturday, Dec. 4, by telling them that she has always loved going back to their province because Ilonggos are her “favorite.”
“Maraming lugar po akong iniikot sa buong Pilipinas . ‘Yung Iloilo ang isa sa pinaka-paborito ko (I have been to many places in the whole Philippines. Iloilo is one of my most favorite),” she told residents of San Isidro Housing Community during a dialogue there.
The Vice President was in Iloilo City for a two-day visit from Dec. 3 to 4 to grace several events, including a biking event organized by her supporters, as well as a visit to the city’s capitol.
Robredo mentioned that Ilonggo dishes are delicious and that she finds Ilonggos nice.
“Kahit po nasa Maynila ako, ‘pag may nakakakwentuhan akong hindi ko kilala, parang kapag sinasabing Ilonggo sya umiiba na kaagad ang impression ko kasi dahil sa magandang impression ko bawat punta ko dito sa inyo (Even when I am in Manila, when I talk to strangers and they say they are Ilonggo, my impression changes because I have a good impression here every time I visit),” she said.
The rather embarrassed presidential hopeful shared she has been repeatedly called in the province “gwapa,” which means beautiful.
“Bihira po ako niyan masabihan parang sa Iloilo lang ako sinasabihan kaya babalik ng babalik ako dito para, para po napupuri ako (It is rare for people to say that to me, it’s just here in Iloilo that I was told that so I’ll keep coming back to get complimented),” she added.
But more than Ilonggo dishes, its people, and being called beautiful, Robredo admitted that she felt envious of Ilonggos because they know “how to choose leaders”.
“Inggit na inggit ako gusto ko sabihin yung mga taga-Iloilo marunong pumili, marunong pumili ng mga leader. Sinasabi ko po ‘yan kasi kapag maayos naman ang nahahalal maayos din naman ‘yung bayan (I am very envious I mean Iloilo knows how to choose leaders. I am saying that because if you elect a good leader, the city will be well),” Robredo said.
During the 2016 vice presidential race, she got 706,052 votes compared to the 127,434 votes of her rival, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Iloilo is a traditional bailiwick of the Liberal Party (LP) because of Senator Franklin Drilon, an LP stalwart, being from there. Although running as an independent candidate, Robredo is still the chairperson of the once-ruling political party.
Robredo received a warm reception as she toured Iloilo province with her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan during their two-day visit.
On Friday, Ilonggos lined up across three towns up to Iloilo City upon her arrival through a convoy where she was greeted by supporters with loud cheers and dance performances. The caravan ran along some 17 kilometers.
Barangay captains then hosted a meet and greet for the opposition tandem at the Don Francisco Village in Jaro district.
Drilon, who was present during Robredo’s meeting with barangay captains, asked them to increase the city’s vote output for her from 68 percent in 2016 to 100 percent in 2022.
From there, she met with Iloilo Governor Toto Defensor and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas — two of the local officials who have openly expressed their support for the opposition tandem.
Robredo and Pangilinan watched members of the Pinknalangga Iloilo Youth for Leni Network form their names. The duo waa also serenaded during the night.
Joining them were human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, lawyer Alex Lacson, and labor leader Sonny Matula, all of whom are running for senator under the Leni-Kiko ticket.