Robredo playing coy? Gutierrez says no, she finds it hard to decide for 2022
MANILA, Philippines — Contrary to claims that Vice President Leni Robredo is merely “playing coy” or avoiding questions on whether she would run for president in 2022, her spokesperson insisted that the opposition’s figurehead is really having a hard time deciding on her future plans.
Robredo spokesperson and lawyer Barry Gutierrez stressed on Thursday that being “coy” is not something that can be used to describe her as she has always addressed issues in a direct-to-the-point manner.
“I’ve known the Vice President for the better of a decade now, ever since we were in Congress, and coy is not something that I would ever attach to her as a descriptor. She is plain-spoken, she is very direct, she will tell you what she feels and what she believes,” Gutierrez told ABS-CBN News Channel’s Dateline Philippines.
“She’s, you know, she’s a straight shooter, and she will never play coy. My honest understanding here is that this is really a weighty decision, and she is really trying to navigate it as best as she can. She’s trying to balance what she feels are the very, very clear imperatives for the nation on one hand, balanced with, you know, her own personal considerations with respect to her family,” he added.
According to Gutierrez, there are myriad of things that are stopping Robredo from finally deciding on whether she would pursue the presidency, the Camarines Sur gubernatorial post, or return to a private life — but one of which is her family’s concerns.
“I think there are multiple factors. Like in 2016, one of the factors is obviously her family. It is not easy for somebody like the Vice President, who has never been a professional politician and who, you know, has a very, very close relationship with her daughters, to just make this decision off the cuff, without regard on how it will affect her family,” Gutierrez explained.
“Remember, in 2016, one of the reasons why she took so long before she actually declared her intention to run for vice president at that time was she needed to get her family onboard. So I think that’s one of the things that’s still very much on her mind,” he added.
The Vice President, before being elected as Bicol representative and then for her current post, was a public interest lawyer who tended to shy away from the limelight. Rather, it was his late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo who was carving out a career in public service.
With the untimely death of her husband, Robredo was brought to the spotlight, and ended up running in his behalf. But in 2015, Robredo’s three daughters whom she maintains a very close relationship with have spoken publicly, that they do not want Robredo to run for either senator or vice president.
During a previous interview, Tricia Robredo said that they struck out a deal with their mother, that the latter would go back to her private life after one term as Camarines Sur 3rd District lawmaker.
Aside from her family, Gutierrez said that Robredo is also considering what would be the best for the opposition in 2022.
“Another thing is the consideration of whether or not she will really be the most unifying and winnable candidate for the opposition. You know, it’s clear that she—from my perspective, at least, and for the perspective of many others, that she is that person,” he said.
“But she has to go through that process herself. The 2022 elections is something she views as very important for our country, and she wants the best person to—the person with the biggest chance to actually unify the broadest base of people to rally around that particular candidate, to ensure our success in 2022. And that’s something she’s still reflecting on,” he added.
Discussions about Robredo’s future political plans came forward with former senator Antonio Trillanes IV volunteering to run for president, as Robredo seems more interested in the Camarines Sur gubernatorial post.
Trillanes, who hails from the Magdalo party-list and has been a long-time ally of Robredo’s Liberal Party (LP), also said that the Vice President is already preparing for a campaign in Camarines Sur.
Trillanes, however, was rebuffed by LP official and former Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., — and eventually by Gutierrez — who both said that Robredo is still keeping her options open regarding a possible presidential bid in 2022.
But for now, Gutierrez said that Robredo remains focused on helping in the COVID-19 pandemic response, although the thought of 2022 has not gotten away from her mind.