NAGA CITY—The late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s widow is literally following in his footsteps.
Leni Robredo, who is running for representative of Camarines Sur’s third district, has turned to the symbol of the yellow flip-flop in her campaign in keeping with her late husband’s iconic wearing of flip-flops during his multiple terms as mayor of Naga City.
Jesse Robredo in his simple flip-flops walking around Naga and interacting with his constituents came to symbolize simplicity in governance, honesty and a man who had the common touch.
Today, in Naga and the nearby towns of Canaman, Camaligan, Magarao, Bombon, Calabanga, Pili and Ocampo—which constitute the third district of Camarines Sur—stickers featuring one yellow flip-flop can be seen all over, on car windshields, house windows and other spots.
The sticker symbolizes Leni’s candidacy under the administration Liberal Party, which has yellow for its official color.
Leni said the flip-flop sticker was the idea of one her campaign volunteers, Pancho Alvarez, and another staffer, which she heartily approved.
She said it was important that people remembered Jesse, adding that her late husband continued to play a role in her campaign.
“I think people trust me more because of him. I am reaping all the goodwill he left behind,” she said in a phone interview Sunday.
Leni said that, in a sense, she was following in Jesse’s footsteps, “especially because what I know of politics and campaigning I learned from him.”
“But I am also trying to chart my own course, because I believe that if I take exactly the same path that he did people might expect that I will be exactly like Jesse, which I am not,” she said.
Jesse Robredo was well known for the simple lifestyle he maintained when he was mayor of Naga City and, later, as secretary of the interior and local government. He died in a plane crash on Aug. 18, 2012.
Alvarez said that originally the plan was to use a pair of flip-flops as a campaign icon, but they decided to go with a single yellow flip-flop on the stickers to denote that the “missing” pair should be worn by each person marching to good governance with Leni.
The yellow color, Alvarez said, stood for Leni’s treading the daang matuwid, or straight path, of President Aquino, the leader of the Liberal Party.
He said the symbol had a universal appeal because “everyone wears flip-flops, not just the masses but those who have more in life as well.”
Leni, a lawyer, is running against Nelly Villafuerte, the wife of the current representative of the third district, Luis R. Villafuerte.