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Leni Robredo has 21 days to decide

Reluctant candidate seeks children’s OK
/ 01:30 AM September 19, 2015
WOOING LENI  Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas take time off to discuss political plans during the oath-taking of new members of the ruling LP in Naga City on Friday when  Roxas formally declared his intention to have the widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to be his running mate. But despite heightened pressure from the party, she has yet to make a decision.           MARK ALVIC ESPLANA/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

WOOING LENI Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas take time off to discuss political plans during the oath-taking of new members of the ruling LP in Naga City on Friday when Roxas formally declared his intention to have the widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to be his running mate. But despite heightened pressure from the party, she has yet to make a decision. MARK ALVIC ESPLANA/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

NAGA CITY, Philippines—Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo is now open to the idea of running for Vice President in next year’s national elections, but has asked Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas to give her three weeks to decide.

Robredo, who holds the seat of Camarines Sur’s third district in the House of Representatives, said on Friday that she needed three weeks to “seriously consider” a run for Vice President because she had to consult her three children, other family members and local LP allies.

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“I’m heeding Mar’s request to be open about it,” Robredo told the Inquirer in an interview on the sidelines of the oath-taking rites for new LP members at Avenue Plaza Hotel in Naga City.

Roxas, whose presidential candidacy has been endorsed by President Aquino, presided over the ceremonies, which were attended by 1,500 party members.

Robredo, 51, said she had a private meeting with Roxas on Thursday and he asked her to be his running mate.

She said she told Roxas she was reluctant to run for Vice President because of the objections of her children and her lack of resources to finance a national campaign.

But Roxas convinced her to “keep an open mind” while they worked on those problems, she said.

Robredo said she would make a decision before the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy on Oct. 16.

Earlier, Robredo repeatedly said she was not ready for the vice presidency, but was considering either a run for reelection or for the Senate.

A lawyer, she is serving her first term in the House. She captured the hearts of millions as the grieving but strong widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, who died in a plane crash in the sea off Masbate province three years ago.

Robredo was elected to the House in 2013, breaking the Villafuerte clan’s long dominance of Camarines Sur politics.

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Daughters’ objection

In an interview on Aug. 18, during the commemoration of the third anniversary of her husband’s death, Robredo said she was reluctant to run for a national office because her daughters—Jessica Marie, 27; Janine Patricia, 21, and Jillian Therese, 15—were totally against it.

In fact, she said, talk about politics is avoided in their home because it is stressful for her daughters.

She said her daughters also opposed her decision to run for the House in 2013.

They relented only when she promised to serve only one term, she said.

Later, they agreed to her seeking reelection, she added.

Jillian Therese once told the Inquirer that her mother’s becoming a senator or Vice President would be “something big that we don’t want to happen.”

‘Vice President Robredo’

On Friday, however, Robredo had to face hundreds of other LP members egging her on to accept Roxas’ offer.

Naga Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Vice Gov. Fortunato Peña and Camarines Sur fifth district Rep. Salvio Fortuno all addressed Robredo as “Vice President” to the cheers of the crowd.

Roxas was seated beside Robredo and smiled broadly as the crowd cheered every time Robredo was addressed as “Vice President.”

The LP standard-bearer came to Naga accompanied by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who is also from the Bicol region and is said to be on the LP senatorial slate.

Inspiring leadership

In his speech, Roxas reminisced about the grassroots leadership style of Jesse Robredo and spoke about how he became an inspiration for everyone in and out of government service.

Roxas said it was not he who was the candidate but the dreams of every one, and urged the crowd to pursue the good government espoused by Jesse Robredo.

Roxas, who arrived here at 8 a.m., was also the guest of honor at a civil-military parade sponsored by the city government.

He left for Manila at 11 a.m. after swearing in the new LP members.

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TAGS: 2016 elections, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, Janine Patricia Robredo, Jesse Robredo, Jessica Marie Robredo, Jillian Therese Robredo, Leni Robredo, Liberal Party, Mar Roxas, Naga City, Philippine elections, Philippine politics, Politics
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