Former high-ranking government officials, senators, and local chief executives, headlined by former Senator and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon, endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a two-page manifesto released on Monday, Feb. 21, the former government officials said Robredo “is the most qualified and trustworthy presidential candidate who has the political will to rebuild our sordid past, engender hope and inspiration among our people regardless of social standing, and bring about change that has long eluded us.”
“We need a leader who puts great premium on transparency, accountability and collaboration. VP Leni champions only truth and facts, while others hide behind lies, excuses and denials. She values community participation and engagement, while others look only after their self-interests to gain unbridled power and influence,” the manifesto added.
The Philippines “deserves” a president who is “fearless, action-oriented, inclusive and decisive.”
The statement said these are the leadership qualities that Robredo demonstrated in the last six years “despite the limited resources of her public office and undeserved open hostility from the present administration.”
Aside from Biazon, former Senior Deputy Speaker Raul Daza (Samar), former Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr. (Zambales and Bataan), Sergio R. Osmeña Ill (Cebu and Iloilo), and Wigberto “Bobby” Tañada (Quezon Province) also signed the manifestation of support.
Former Batangas Rep. and ex-Finance secretary Tomas V. Apacible, former Bataan Rep. and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) chair Felicito “Tong” Payumo, former Tourism secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta, former Agriculture secretary Senen C. Bacani, and former Interior secretary Cesar Sarino gave their endorsement as well.
Former Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña, a known supporter of Robredo, was also part of the manifesto, as well as former Isabela Grace Padaca, who, like Robredo’s late husband, ex-Interior secretary Jesse Robredo, was a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Public Service (2008).
Former Commission on Higher Education (CHED) commissioner Dr. Ester Garcia, former Poro Point Management Corporation director Jose Osias, former Philippine Retirement Authority chairman Luis Sison, and former National Development Company director and former chairman of the People’s Television Network Virgilio Yuzon are part of the statement.
“We throw our unequivocal support for VP Leni who leads with her heart, as much as she leads with her mind. This was especially apparent in the timely, efficient and innovative ways with which she implemented her own pandemic response plan,” they said.
“We want a president who respects our democratic processes, and will uphold our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity at all times,” they added.
The ex-senior government officials quoted the late Foreign Affairs secretary Roberto “Bobby” Romulo who said that “this is not the time to be silent fence-sitters.”
Like Romulo, the former officials commit to support Robredo “in her quest to restore equity, prosperity and dignity to our people” to remove the “sick man of Asia” label from the Philippines.
“It is incumbent upon us to take action as we, as a nation, make a crucial decision that will impact greatly on our future and the next generation’s,” they said.
Earlier, ex-Cabinet officials of the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, headlined by former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, leading economists, and former officers, staff, and technical advisers of the United Nations system in the country also endorsed Robredo’s candidacy.