Robredo says she’s not focusing on 2022 elections due to COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo was asked again about her plans for the 2022 National Elections, to which her answer remained the same — that she is still holding out on making a decision amid her office’s COVID-19 response.
But aside from her usual answer, Robredo also offered a view into other public officials’ mindsets — like Manila Mayor Isko Moreno — whom she said may also be unable to plan for 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview on Friday, the Vice President said that she believes she and Moreno have been intent on fixing the health crisis first and foremost, that they have set aside political talks as of now.
“Nakita ko siya (Moreno) sa partnership namin ano rin siya, eh, nagre-raise din siya for herd immunity so grabe rin iyong concentration nila sa COVID response,” Robredo told reporters in her hometown of Naga City, where the Office of the Vice President (OVP) recently launched the Nagavax Express program.
(I saw Mayor Moreno during our partnership, he is also busy, he is also pushing for herd immunity so their concentration on the COVID-19 response is really intense.)
“Ako, tingin ko medyo pareho kami na hindi masyadong natututukan iyong 2022 kasi ang dami pang problema na inaasikaso,” she added.
(I think we share the same circumstance where we aren’t really focusing on the 2022 elections because there are a lot of problems we need to attend to.)
The Nagavax Express is an offshoot of the Vaccine Express initiative which was a program between OVP and the local government of Manila. During the launch, Robredo and Moreno personally witnessed the operations of the vaccination facility, which was intended for frontline workers like tricycle drivers and motorcycle couriers.
This appearance triggered rumors that Robredo and Moreno — who has identified himself with the opposition several times — are currently talking about a possible coalition for the upcoming elections.
However, Robredo said that Moreno has not talked to her about her plans. She also noted that talks of a partnership for 2022 should shape up only after she has decided on her next plans.
“Ako kasi, ewan ko lang kung nagbago na pero iyong balita ko dati, hindi kino-consider ni Mayor Isko mag-VP. Pero sabi naman ni Mayor Isko, wala pa siyang desisyon. So baka huwag natin siyang pangunahan? Huwag natin siyang pangunahan kasi isa rin si Mayor Isko na busy,” she explained.
(For me, I don’t know if it has changed but what I heard before is that Mayor Isko is not considering to run as vice president. But he told me that he has no decision yet. So maybe it’s best if we do not preempt him? Let us avoid from making conclusions because he is also very busy.)
“Mahirap sabihin kasi siguro iisipin natin iyong tandem kung nakapag-decide na ako anong kakandidatuhan ko, ‘di ba? Kasi tingin ko iyong tandem will come next pero magdedesisyon muna kung kakandidato ba pagka-pangulo o hindi,” she said when asked about the possibility of a Robredo-Moreno tandem.
(It’s hard to say because we should only think about tandems if I have already decided on what position I would run for, right? Because I think the tandem would come next but the decision to run for president or not would come first.)
While Robredo has yet to make her decision on possibly running for president, there are rumors that she might pursue a local position instead — with some local officials in Camarines Sur saying that she is already intent in vying for the gubernatorial seat.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Gutierrez has denied such talks, insisting that she remains open for a possible presidential candidacy.
In a recent exclusive interview with INQUIRER.net, Gutierrez said that Robredo’s silence on her political plans is not due to fear of being attacked, but rather because of several considerations — stemming from her family, to the best case scenario for the opposition, and other factors.
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