Some 47 ex-government officials who served under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo endorsed Vice President Leni Robredo for president, adding their voice to the growing list of former Cabinet members from past administrations supporting Robredo’s bid.
“Many are beset by fear, anxiety, and lethargy. We need a strong woman in the house to rekindle our energy and resolve. Leni Robredo represents the tough love of our mothers. She has the tenacious will to persuade. She drives our communities along the path of resilience,” the statement released on Wednesday, Feb. 23, said.
“As President, Chief Diplomat, and Commander-in-Chief, Leni Robredo stands in front of our great battles, here and beyond our shores,” it added.
The former officials believe that Robredo will keep the country safe and whole and restore the economy and social fabric.
The endorsement came in the second week of the official campaign season, which started on Feb. 8., and went against their former boss’ choice of presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
Arroyo was instrumental in bringing together former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who many expected to run for president and divide pro-administration votes.
Among the signatories were former Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) chairman Ruben Carranza, former Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Diwa Gunigundo, and former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.
Former Health chief Manuel Dayrit also signed the statement even after an earlier remark that he was supporting Robredo’s bid.
Opposition coalition 1Sambayan lead convenor Albert del Rosario, who served as ambassador to the United States during the Arroyo administration and as Foreign Affairs chief during former President Benigno Aquino III’s presidency, also signed the manifesto.
The statement lauded Robredo’s work with the marginalized, saying that she lifts up small enterprises, fishers, and farmers.
“She cloaks the weakest from disease, ignorance, and injustice,” it read, noting that professionals, civil society, corporate social responsibility, and the donor community are behind her.
“The work ahead is to gather the nation around a battle of grit and fortitude. Leni Robredo leads us in the uphill climb...Her daily work is transparent in talk and action. She is honest with the people's money,” the statement added.
Challenges in the country are mounting—from health to remote work to digital commerce to climate change to organized crimes, the ex-government official said.
“We must be abreast of the new ways of earning and living...Leni Robredo does more in less time,” they added.
“We can only fight back with the iron fist of the law gloved in science, faith, and creativity. Leni Robredo is a bearer of balance, calm and hope. She is rock-steady for military might, human security, and peace talks,” it read.
The officials particularly noted that the Vice President, the only female presidential candidate, will guard the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone “with constant vigilance and honorable diplomacy.”
Earlier, ex-Cabinet officials of the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, headlined by former Interior secretary Mar Roxas, leading economists, former officers, staff, and technical advisers of the United Nations system in the country, and ex-secretaries of the Department Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also endorsed Robredo’s candidacy.
On Wednesday, Feb. 23, past presidents of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) from 1994 to 2020 also endorsed Robredo.