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Leni Robredo under pressure, seeks ‘lifeline’ from late husband

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. FILE PHOTO

Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. FILE PHOTO

If the 2016 elections were the game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Leni Robredo said she could definitely use a lifeline from her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

On her Facebook account, the Camarines Sur representative posted a picture on Thursday of her late husband on the phone. The caption read: “Can I use a lifeline just for today?”

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In fact, the reluctant Liberal Party member, under tremendous pressure more than ever from party mates urging her to accept LP presidential contender Mar Roxas’ offer to become his running mate, wouldn’t mind a little ghostly possession from her late husband.

“I need sanib from Jesse (I need inner guidance from Jesse),” she said in a text message to the Inquirer. “Haaay, why did he have to leave me,” she lamented.

“Pressure from all quarters has heightened,” said the Robredo widow, who is on her first term as representative of Camarines Sur’s third district.

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There has been no change in her decision not to seek the vice presidency next year due to her inexperience and relatively low awareness rating, she added, of Roxas’ standing offer.

The LP standard-bearer has been looking for a running mate, and Robredo has been identified as one of his options, along with Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto.

But the announcement this week of the team-up between Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero had ratcheted pressure on Robredo, with civil society groups and like-minded individuals launching a signature campaign to try to convince her to run.

Robredo, an economics graduate of the University of the Philippines and law graduate of the University of Nueva Caceres, has been steadfast in spurning the clamor, saying she was not ready for the post. In fact, she added, she was considering only a reelection in her district or a Senate seat, provided her awareness rating would have improved by September.

In an interview last month, Robredo said there was no way she would have entered politics if Jesse were still alive. “It was always clear that only one person in the family would be in politics. The only reason I entered politics was because (Jesse) died,” she said.

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In Legazpi City, LP stalwart and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said Robredo was no longer a tenable running mate for Roxas after Escudero’s announcement of his vice presidential bid.

If the 2016 elections were the game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Leni Robredo said she could definitely use a lifeline from her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

If the 2016 elections were the game show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” Leni Robredo said she could definitely use a lifeline from her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

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Two Bicolanos

Salceda, who heads Roxas’ campaign team in Bicol, said it would not be good to have two Bicolanos running for the same national position. Escudero hails from Sorsogon province, while Robredo represents CamSur.

On his Facebook post on Thursday, Salceda said: “Chiz runs for VP of Grace. That trumps Leni since it is not good for a Bicolano to fight another Bicolano unless it involves game-changing reasons. Definitely, whether you like it or not, Bicolanos will vote for another Bicolano. Non-Bicolano candidates can only mitigate the impact.”

Roxas was expected to meet Robredo in Naga City today, when he swears in new party members who are eyeing local electoral posts in 2016.

Expected to be with him was Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, a Bicolana from Iriga City. The officials were to proceed to Plaza Quezon for the military parade, said Allen Reondanga, the city government”s public information officer.

Robredo supporters were as reluctant to discuss the widow’s political plans, saying she was waiting for results of a survey on Sept. 26, before she makes a final decision. She is currently ranked 26th among possible senatorial aspirants, said Naga City Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion, also an LP stalwart.

3-way anybody’s game

Salceda, meanwhile, noted that the 20-point program that Poe presented on Wednesday closely corresponded to his own 16-point fiscal, economic and structural concepts for the President who would be elected in 2016.

“In short,” he added, “the 2016 elections is now a three-way anybody’s game and the crux is which candidate the people will love and trust.”

Poe’s presidential bid drew mixed reactions from several Bicol politicians, including former Albay first district Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, who said Poe’s change of citizenship should not be trivialized as it meant she “deliberately severed her loyalty to the Republic of the Philippines.”

“Such act of absolute abandonment and repudiation of loyalty and allegiance to her native country is indelible. Loyalty cannot be discarded and retrieved like apparel in one’s wardrobe. Severance of loyalty is almost irredeemable. No legal fiction can restore fractured loyalty to its original whole,” he said.

Lagman asked: “If ever Grace Poe (were) elected President, is there any assurance that she will honor her solemn oath of office given her shifting loyalties and ephemeral patriotism? Are Filipinos ready and willing to suffer this alarming contingency? Or should Grace Poe give herself more time to prove fealty to her restored loyalty and manifest more clearly her untested potentials?”

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, Camarines Sur, Edcel Lagman, Grace Poe, Jesse Robredo, Leni Robredo, Liberal Party, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Vice President
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