Robredo on past gov’t officials' endorsement: ‘Ito ang tunay na unity’

Published February 24, 2022, 6:12 PM

by Raymund Antonio

TALISAY CITY, Cebu — Perhaps as an allusion to her rival’s UniTeam tandem, Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday, Feb. 24, said that the endorsements she received from past government officials from different administrations may be the real definition of unity.

Vice President Leni Robredo addresses her pink-clad supporters at the St. Scholastica Academy in Talisay City, Cebu.

Robredo said she is “humbled, thankful, and grateful” of the endorsements, especially because they are “unsolicited.”

“So if at all, ito yata talaga ‘yung tunay na unity, eh. Yung unity…sa aspirations for the country. Hindi siya unity sa mga political na considerations (this might be the real unity. This unity…for the aspirations for the country. It is not unity out of political considerations),” she told reporters.

“Iba iba yung pinanggalingan pero (It came from different sources but) one… one aspiration for the country, and how to achieve that aspiration would depend on the results of the elections,” Robredo added.

Without dropping names, her remarks can be attributed to her rival, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s UniTeam with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

The tandem, formed by ex-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and endorsed by impeached President Joseph Estrada, runs on the campaign promise that uniting the people will solve the country’s ills and problems.

Her remarks also came as nine of the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution endorsed her presidential bid and that of running mate Sen. Kiko Pangilinan for vice president on the eve of the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power 1.

Among the signatories are such luminaries as former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Christian Monsod, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, former Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, Prof. Edmundo Garcia, and Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid of the Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication.

The aspiring president said that the “stakes are very high” because the statements of endorsements have a common message: adherence to the rule of law.

“Ang mensahe kasi noon sa akin mas marami na ngayong mga tao at groups ang nararamdaman (The message to me is that there are a lot more people and groups now who feel) how important this election is going to be. Meaning to say hindi lang siya simple na labanan ng mga personalities, pero ang naglalaban na ano ang mangyayari sa atin (it’s not just a simple battle of personalities, but we are fighting for what will happen to us) in the next six years,” she added.

The statement from the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which was born out of the ashes of the bloodless people power revolt in February 1986, said that Robredo and Pangilinan “best embodies the principles and values found in the Basic Charter of the land”—social justice and human rights.

“We believe that the ideals articulated by the tandem of Vice-President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan indeed strongly conform to the imperatives expressed in the Basic Charter that we worked on and presented to the people during the education campaign we conducted across the country; subsequently, our people resoundingly ratified the Constitution on February 2, 1987,” the statement read.

They commended Robredo’s and Pangilinan’s record of public service, competence, and capabilities, and called them “servant leaders.”

“VP Leni’s life-long advocacies as a lawyer serving the poor and as an economist focusing on inclusive efforts to uplift the lives of those on ‘the fringes’ of society provide a testament to her singular dedication to address the main challenges our country now confronts: poverty and inequality,” the statement said.

“And she embodies the constitutional vision of leaders who live modest lives and are transparent in the use of the powers of office,” it added.

In affixing their signatures to the statement of support, the framers said they do so in the memory of the late former Commission on Human Rights chair Jose Luis Martin ‘Chito’ Gascon, the youngest member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, and the Commission’s President, the late Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, Chief Justice Roberto R. Concepcion, and Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, S.J.

Earlier, ex-Cabinet officials of former President Fidel Ramos and the late former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, 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.

Despite being instrumental in bringing about the Uniteam tandem of Marcos and Duterte, 47 ex-Arroyo Cabinet members also endorsed Robredo’s bid.

READ: ‘She is rock-steady’: 47 former Arroyo execs back Robredo’s bid

The past presidents of the Philippine Bar Association (PBA) from 1994 to 2020 and the Vincentian Family in the Philippines, comprised of religious and lay organizations, endorsed her as well.

And for the first time in 40 years, Couples for Christ International expressed their “support” for Robredo, though stressing that members are free to choose who they want to vote for.