The Robredos have a rule: only one family member can enter politics at a given time, which means presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo’s three daughters will not be entering politics anytime soon if she wins in the 2022 presidential race.
The aspiring president is aware that her daughters may be open to joining politics since they were born into it as their father, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, was already Naga City mayor when they were born.
Aika, the eldest, specifically, has the credentials to join public office. She has a mid-career master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Governance. It is the same prestigious university that his father attended.
“Si Aika dalawang eleksyon nang nililigawan nung ibang mga pulitiko sa amin, kinukumbinsi (For two elections, Aika was being invited by local politicians back home, she was being convinced) to run for mayor or to run for another position. Ang policy namin, hanggang nakaupo pa ako sa gobyerno, walang puwedeng ibang kumandidato sa amin (Our policy is, until I am still in government, no one can run for public office),” she told the audience during a meet and greet event at Saint Louis School in Baguio City.
Aika was being wooed to run for a gubernatorial post in the 2022 polls but she earlier told the Manila Bulletin that as a general rule, only one person in the family can be in public office.
Robredo’s eldest daughter is the most qualified to run for public office as middle child Tricia is a doctor while the youngest, Jillian, is still finishing her double degree in math and economics at the New York University on full scholarship.
The Vice President said the issue of political dynasty is embarrassing for them, and they never once thought that they will “inherit” her late husband’s position as mayor after serving.
“Para sa amin nakakahiya iyon, hindi namin gagawin iyon (For us, that’s embarrassing, we will not do that),” she stressed.
Robredo, of course, isn’t closing the doors for her daughters to seek public office.
“So, hindi siya malayo. Pero sinasabi ko pagpasok ka, number one, dapat wala na ako sa pulitika. Number two, hindi mo mamanahin. Kailangan umuwi ka doon at pagtrabahuhan mo (It’s not far-fetched. But what I’m saying is that if you’re going to join, number one, I should not be in politics anymore. Number two, you’re not going to inherit it. You need to go home there and work for it),” she said.
This is why the People’s Council, which Robredo will push for if she becomes president, is important because it will help change the mindset of politicians regarding clinging to power and patronage politics.
There should be “no entitlement in the position,” she said, explaining that the Empowerment Ordinance of Naga City that created the Naga City People’s Council allowed for direct civil society participation in governance.
This meant that even if leadership changed, the programs will continue.
She believed that more problems can be solved when people are engaged in governance and when they are empowered to participate in the decision-making process.
“Kahit pa ako ang manalo sa eleksyon, kung solo lang ako, hindi ko kakayanin. Ang transformation kailangan mangaling sa ating lahat (Even if I win the elections, if I am alone, I cannot do it. The transformation must come from all of us),” Robredo said.
The Naga City People’s Council is the inspiration behind the Robredo People’s Council, which she now brings to towns and cities she visits. During the council meetings, she talks with different groups and sectors to learn about the issues they face.