Emotional Pangilinan feels weight of ‘call of duty’ in VP run
MANILA, Philippines — An emotional Senator Francis Pangilinan said it was the “call of duty” that convinced him to seek the vice presidency as he pledged to bring forth meaningful change amid the “crooked system” the country faces today.
“Tinawag tayo ng tungkulin (We were called by duty). Call of duty,” Pangilinan said in a press conference on Friday.
“Nagtitiwala ako sa sambayanang Pilipino — lalabas ang ating tapang, makahahanap ng lakas ng loob, makahuhugot ng liwanag ng puso, para iwaksi ang baluktot na pamamahala, at kapalit nito ay magtatalaga ng mga pinunong tapat at totoo, may puso at tibay, matino at mahusay,” he added.
(I trust the Filipino people — our courage will come through, we will find our strength, a light in our hearts, to eliminate the crooked system, and to appoint leaders who are truthful, who have hearts and endurance, who are sensible and effective.)
At the start of his speech, Pangilinan held back tears as he recalled Vice President Leni Robredo’s moving speech that she has decided to run for president.
“Una, mga luha ng agam-agam at pangamba dahil habang nagsasalita si Ma’am Leni, bigla kong naramdaman ang buong bigat at magiging pasanin ng landas na aming tatahakin tungo sa pamumuno sa isang bansang naghihikahos at gumagapang,” he said.
(First, tears due to doubt and fears because while Ma’am Leni was speaking, I suddenly felt the full weight of the path we will be taking to be given the chance to lead the country that is struggling.)
“Pangalawang dahilan, mga luha ng pag-asa na sa pagdeklara ni Ma’am Leni ng kanyang pagtakbo para sa pagkapangulo,” he added.
(The second reason is tears of hope in Ma’am Leni’s presidential bid declaration.)
Pangilinan said he was among those pushing for Robredo to run, even recalling their text exchange six months ago.
The senator said he texted Robredo back in April this year, asking her to consider the presidency.
At the time, Pangilinan said Robredo told him that she would prefer to extend her services to the local and grassroots level.
“Ang sagot ko naman sa text nya na may halong biro at kaunting udyok: ‘Sa gawain nyo, Ma’am, kelan ba ninyo inuna ‘yung kasiyahan nyo?’ Prayer emoji lang ang naging sagot nya,” she added.
(I responded to her text with a touch of jest and a bit of urging: In your line of work, Ma’am, when did you prioritize your happiness? She only replied with a prayer emoji.)
Fast forward to six months later, Pangilinan said Robredo asked him to throw his hat into the ring as her running mate.
“Ngayon siya naman ang humihingi ng tulong, isantabi ko rin ang aking kagustuhan, baka kapag sinabi ko na mas masaya ako sa pagtakbo sa Senado, eh balikan niya sa akin yung sinabi ko six months ago… Eh sabi ko nga, wala akong kawala. No choice, ika nga,” the senator said.
(Now that she is asking for help, to I set aside my preference, I thought that if I told her I would be happier running for the Senate, she would turn the tables on me and tell me the same thing I told her six months ago. I had nowhere to go, as they say: No choice.)
“Pero sa totoo lang, tinawag tayo ng tungkulin [But in all honesty, duty calls],” he added.
Pangilinan started to get emotional again as he underscored the plight of Filipinos, especially amid the pandemic.
“Ang pangarap ko para sa bayan: Sana all may trabaho at maayos na kita. Sana all may sapat na pagkain sa mesa. Sana all may bakuna. Sana all ligtas sa sakit,” he said.
(My dream is that: Everyone has a job with decent pay. Everyone has enough food. Everyone can have access to vaccines. Everyone is safe from sickness.)
“Sana all may sariling tahanan. Sana all makapagtapos ng pag-aaral [Everyone has their own home]. Everyone can finish their studies],” he added.
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