Three days before she steps down from office, outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, June 27, passed the torch to Senator Risa Hontiveros as the opposition’s new de facto leader after being the lone candidate from their slate to win in the May 2022 elections.
“Uulitin ko ‘yun ngayon (I will repeat now), Sen. Risa, na you are now the highest elected official sa oposisyon (of the opposition), and lahat kami masaya na ikaw ‘yung natitirang humahawak ng ating bandila (and we are all happy that you’re the last one holding our flag),” the Vice President told the senator during her oath-taking ceremony at the Quezon City Reception House (QCRH).
Also in attendance were Hontiveros’ three daughters.
“Kampante kami, kampante kami na patuloy mong ipapakipaglaban ‘yung lahat ng pinaniniwalaan natin, kung ano ‘yung mabuti at tama sa pamamahala (We are assured, we are assured that you will continue the fight for all we believe in, of what is right in governance),” Robredo added.
She shared that after learning the results of the elections and seeing Hontiveros as the lone opposition candidate in the “Magic 12,”she immediately texted the senator to tell her that “you are now our leader” and that they are all behind her to extend any help she needs.
“Nandito lang kami lagi, magsusuporta sa’yo. Kami ‘yung mga sundalo mo ngayon (We are just here always to support you. We are your soldiers now), Sen. Risa,” Robredo said in her speech after the oath-taking.
“Kung papaano mo kami sinuportahan ‘yung sambayang Pilipino, ganun din ‘yung suporta na aasahan mo sa amin (How you supported the Filipino people will be the same support you can expect from us),” she added.
The Vice President expressed her admiration for the senator, saying that it doubled upon seeing how she handled the power given to her from her time in Congress to Senate.
She said that Hontiveros was able to use her position to push for the right kind of governance and leadership.
Meanwhile, Iloilo Board Member Jason Gonzales also took her oath before Robredo, who described him as a family of the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) Angat Buhay program.
Robredo shared that Lambunao, Iloilo was one of Angat Buhay’s first beneficiaries when Gonzales, who was also one of the first to convince her to run as president, was still mayor there.
Convinced that the newly-elected Iloilo board members will rise in the political ranks, the outgoing Vice President said she is also assured that Gonzales will not forsake his beliefs.
“Hindi ako nagsisisi na pumayag ako sa pangungumbinsi mo. Kahit hindi tayo nagwagi sa eleksyon, nagwagi tayo (I do not regret agreeing to you. Even if we didn’t win the election, we won) on so many fronts. And I look forward to continuing to do good—to do good community work with you, not just in Iloilo but the rest of the country,” Robredo added.
Since she will be stepping down at noon on June 30, Robredo shared what a huge privilege it is for her that Hontiveros and Gonzales chose to take their oaths of office before her.