23 ex-FVR officials endorse Leni’s bid
Twenty-three former high-ranking officials, including 14 former Cabinet secretaries from the Ramos administration, on Thursday declared their support for Vice President Leni Robredo’s presidential bid, in a breakaway endorsement that contradicted the endorsement of their former principal’s political party.
The joint statement, signed by former officials Benjamin de Leon (Office of the President), former Environment Secretaries Angel Alcala and Victor Ramos, former Finance Secretary Ramon del Rosario Jr., former Foreign Secretary Roberto Romulo, and former Justice Secretary and Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon, among others, sought to underscore the 2022 national elections as a “critical crossroads for the country” as it tries to rebuild itself in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Given this, the country “needs to elect a leader who will lead us into the positive path to the unified, humane, just, progressive, economically vibrant, sustainable and equitable society that is the dream of every Filipino,” they wrote.
“We believe the Vice President is the only presidential candidate … who can credibly lead us Filipinos closer to that dream,” they added.
As such, the officials pledged their “wholehearted commitment to do our share to help [Robredo] become the next president of the Philippines.”
Among others, the former officials also expressed “grave concern” that the national campaign “is being compromised by the proliferation of misinformation, dubious promises and outright falsehoods.”
They expressed grave concern about how misinformation and “deliberate thought manipulation” through mercenary troll armies were manipulating the outcome of the 2022 elections, of which Robredo appears to take the heaviest brunt.
Their endorsement of the lone opposition candidate was a stunning breakaway from their former principal’s own presidential picks. In 2016, former President Fidel V. Ramos (FVR) had endorsed President Duterte’s own bid; in 2021, his party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, had endorsed Robredo’s chief rival Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
Ironically, Ramos’ own men said they hoped the next president of the country would be someone who was like the former military general himself when he assumed the presidency in 1998.
“The country sorely needs a leader who will inspire unity, solidarity and teamwork in government and among Filipinos, empower our people … and bring out the best of servant leadership in government officials and public servants,” they wrote.
“These are the leadership qualities that we directly witnessed President Ramos espouse and exemplify, and which we seek in the next president of the country,” they added.
The Vice President, in response, said she felt “humbled” by their support.
She added that she had always looked up to Ramos’ own leadership—“which I believed was affirmed by the brilliant people who served alongside him: good and competent.”
“Honored by the faith you have placed upon me, sirs and ma’ams. You can rest assured that I would try to be worthy of the trust that you and your fellow Filipinos have given me,” she added.
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