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INQUIRER'S PRESIDENT DUTERTE INAUGURAL SPECIAL

PROFILE: Who is Leni Robredo?

Leni Robredo. INQUIRER PHOTO / NINO JESUS ORBETA

Vice President Leni Robredo was, in the beginning, a reluctant politician. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/NINO JESUS ORBETA

Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona-Robredo, 51, earned the country’s admiration for her courage and composure when her husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, died in a plane crash in August 2012.

After Jesse’s death, Leni became the rallying point for his allies and supporters in Naga City, although she said she would not enter politics for the sake of her children.

But public clamor was so strong that Robredo was persuaded to run in the 2013 congressional elections, representing her husband’s old constituency, the third district of Camarines Sur, which includes Naga.

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Leni said she decided to run to fight the political dynasty in Camarines Sur and to maintain unity among the political supporters of her late husband who was Naga’s mayor for 19 years.

READ: Leni Robredo’s campaign resume

Jesse’s widow won against Nelly Villafuerte, wife of former Rep. Luis Villafuerte. The victory ended the Villafuerte clan’s almost 40 years of dominance in the district.

In September last year, President Aquino and his chosen successor, Mar Roxas, convinced her to be the Liberal Party’s candidate for Vice President.

In her acceptance speech on Oct. 5, Robredo replied to criticisms that she lacked experience for a higher position, saying her two years in Congress showed that honest public service more than compensated for lack of experience.

“In my years as representative, I fought for the rights of those in slippers— those under, outside and at the seams of our society. We pushed for laws that gave … ordinary Filipinos … a voice and (a chance to) participate in nation-building. We also pushed for a system to ensure that our leaders will not be led astray or be blinded by power,” she said.

A lawyer, Leni served in the Public Attorney’s Office before joining an alternative lawyers’ group and represented various civil society groups.

She earned her economics degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 1986 and finished law at University of Nueva Caceres in Naga.

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The Robredos have three daughters: Jessica Marie or “Aika,” Janine Patricia or “Tricia” and Jillian Therese or “Jill.”

Born on April 23, 1965, in Naga, Leni is the daughter of the late Bicol Regional Trial Court Judge Antonio Gerona and Salvacion Santo Tomas Gerona, an English professor.

SOURCES: CONGRESS.GOV.PH AND INQUIRER ARCHIVES


For more stories, photos and videos on President Rodrigo Duterte’s term as the country’s 16th President, visit The Duterte Administration special website at http://www.inquirer.net/duterte. View the full Duterte inaugural commemorative issue in today’s Inquirer Libre at http://inq.ph/inquirerepaper.

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TAGS: inaugural special, Leni Robredo
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