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Reluctant Leni Robredo feeling guilty with Aquino push

LAOAG CITY, Philippines—President Aquino appealed to Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo’s sense of patriotism when he asked her to consider to be the running mate of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas next year.

Robredo, who attended a forum here on Thursday, said the President posed this question to her at their meeting last week: “Will you be able to live with the fact [that] you had been given the opportunity to serve but you didn’t do it?”

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It was the same question he had to grapple with when making his decision to run for president in 2010, Aquino told Robredo.

“That’s a difficult question to answer. It makes me feel guilty. I don’t know if I am meant for it (vice presidency),” Robredo told reporters here.

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During his visit to Apayao on Wednesday, the President said he had high hopes Robredo would accept to be Roxas’ running mate.

But this late, members of the ruling Liberal Party are still divided on who between Robredo and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano should run with Roxas, with the Oct. 16 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy looming.

Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas, a leader of the Visayan bloc in Congress, said that only Roxas could decide who would be the best fit for him.

“All the members of the party have their candidates for Vice President but, ultimately, it is Secretary Mar who will have the final say,” he said.

Better choice?

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. believes Cayetano would be the better choice because of his strong showing in vice presidential surveys and the possibility his Nacionalista Party would coalesce with the LP.

“I want Alan because he is a gut fighter and equally qualified,” he said.

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But in a text message, Belmonte admitted most LP members were for Robredo.

On Thursday in Laoag, Robredo said: “If you ask me now, I am not ready to give an answer. I ask for time. I will go where my heart leads me. I pray instead. There are too many reasons running for Vice President would not be possible.

“[But] I promised our party, I promised our President that I will not close [the] door,” she said.

“When I spoke to the President, he said, ‘We share the same situation when I was pushed to run for president in 2010.’

“But I replied, ‘You have had many years as a politician… there are always two dimensions to politics—the mission and the preparation. I am not prepared,” she said.

The widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo said, “I ask myself, what will Jesse do? I hope he gives me a sign and his message should be loud and clear so I would not be confused.”

“If there is one lesson the family learned from the death of my husband, it is that you cannot really plan too far ahead,” she said.

Meanwhile, in the City of Malolos on Thursday, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whom Vice President Jejomar Binay is considering as a running mate, joined an assembly of Chambers of Young Business Leaders at Bulacan State University, where he gave Aquino’s governance a grade of 62.

Marcos said the Aquino administration failed to improve traffic in Metro Manila, had not built major infrastructure projects and did nothing to strengthen the agriculture sector.

“Nothing has changed. These are same old problems, some of them have [even] worsened,” he said.—With a report from Gil Cabacungan

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, candidacy, Elections, Leni Robredo, vice-presidential candidacy
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