Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 7) — Vice President Leni Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy for president on Thursday, just hours after she announced her plan to run for the highest post in the land.
The opposition leader is running as an independent candidate, her spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said. She did not name her running mate, but several sources from her camp confirmed it will be Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.
The Vice President did not address the media at Sofitel’s Harbor Garden Tent, but she is set to hold a media briefing on Friday.
Robredo said she initially didn’t want to run, but realized it’s time to change what she described as corrupt, incompetent, and heartless governance with a qualified leader.
“Buong-buo ang loob ko ngayon: Kailangan nating palayain ang sarili mula sa kasalukuyang situwasyon. Lalaban ako; lalaban tayo. Inihahain ko ang aking sarili bilang kandidato sa pagkapangulo sa halalan ng 2022,” Robredo said, wearing a blue blouse with a pink ribbon, glaringly void of any color yellow — the color of the Liberal Party.
[Translation: My mind is made up: We need to free ourselves from our current situation. I will fight, we will fight together. I am offering myself as a candidate in the presidential elections in 2022.]
Robredo acknowledged she doesn’t have the funds and the well-oiled machinery unlike other powerful candidates. She, however, urged her supporters to amplify their voices since it can help her campaign. She said they can let others know of her office’s efforts to help Filipinos, especially during the pandemic, despite their meager budget.
She said change in governance cannot happen without taking a leap of fate, so that’s what she is doing — and urged others to do as well.
“Ang kinabukasan, pinipili, pinagsisikapan, ipinaglalaban. Kailangan nating piliing humakbang. Heto ako ngayon, humahakbang. Ipaglalaban ko kayo hanggang dulo. Itataya ko ang lahat; ibubuhos ko ang lahat na kayang ibuhos,” she said.
She closed her speech with: “Buong-buo ang tiwala ko: Magtatagumpay tayo.”
[Translation: What happens in our future is our choice, we must take that leap and fight for it. I am here taking that leap. I will fight for you until the end and give it my all. I have complete faith that will will emerge victorious.]
Her announcement has been much-awaited by those who want to see her succeed President Rodrigo Duterte and lead the nation in addressing the pandemic.
Robredo will face off against former Senator Bongbong Marcos, son of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, in the presidential race. She defeated him in the vice presidential election in 2016 and in the electoral protest filed by Marcos before the Supreme Court. The high court also junked his appeal.
The vice president earlier said she is ready for a head-to-head battle against Marcos.
“Kung one-on-one na Bongbong Marcos, lalaban ako kahit dehado,” she said in September.
[Translation: If it’s a one-on-one fight with Bongbong Marcos, I will fight even if I’m an underdog.]
Marcos welcomed Robredo’s announcement, saying adding another candidate in the mix will provide more options for voters..
“We can give a whole range of choices as to policy, ideology, plans for the future. Mas maganda ‘yung maraming iba’t ibang pino-propose para may pagpipilian ang tao. That’s good for a healthy democracy,” he said on Thursday.
Others with COCs for president are Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Senator Manny Pacquiao, and Senator Ping Lacson. The attempt to have a united opposition with these three hopefuls has fallen through despite efforts of the Robredo camp.
Moreno did not issue a comment, while Lacson said he will not talk about his political rivals.
Robredo had been appointed by Duterte to two government agencies, but was removed or forced to cease attending meetings after she spoke out against the administration.
The 56-year-old widow and mother of three served one term as congresswoman representing the 3rd District of Camarines Sur.
She ran in 2013 after the tragic death of her husband, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, from a plane crash in August 2012.