Leni Robredo gets more time to decide but LP sources say she’s Roxas’ VP
The date for the announcement of the vice presidential candidate and senatorial slate of the Liberal Party has been moved from Wednesday to Monday, as the LP is giving Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo more time to make up her mind on its offer for her to be the running mate of Mar Roxas.
While waiting for the formal announcement, two LP sources in the administration said Tuesday that Robredo, a lawyer, would likely be the running mate of Roxas, the administration coalition standard-bearer.
A third source, who belongs to another group of Robredo supporters, said the Camarines Sur lawmaker had accepted the LP offer.
The source, who is privy to LP negotiations but is not authorized to speak on the party’s behalf, said the widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had agreed to heed appeals from the LP, including President Aquino.
The source said Robredo’s eldest daughter remained the only one among her three children opposed to her running for Vice President.
The source said the LP was confident that Robredo would talk her eldest daughter into agreeing with her decision to seek the vice presidency due to the public clamor.
The announcement of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday that he would be running for Vice President heightened speculations that Robredo was the President and Roxas’ anointed one.
Recent reports said the choice of Roxas’ running mate was down to either Robredo or Cayetano.
On Monday night, Robredo told reporters she did not believe she could reach a decision by Wednesday, saying she needed more time to discuss it with her daughters, and to seek spiritual guidance.
Robredo said she appreciated how the LP was giving her “space” to come to a decision, adding that she should be able to give the party a final answer by next week.
“It would not be fair to the Liberal Party if it took me too long to decide,” she said.
She met last week with the President to talk about her and her daughters’ apprehensions.
“Making a decision is only a matter of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’… There’s no ‘maybe’ here,” Robredo said. “I’m not OK [with running], until my children are OK with it.”
Announcement on Wednesday
The first two sources, who declined to be named as they were not the coalition’s spokespersons, said in separate interviews that by all indications, Robredo’s vice presidential bid was already a done deal.
One source said it could be announced Wednesday at the coalition meeting to be presided over by the President at Roxas’ ancestral home in Cubao, Quezon City, alternately called White House and “Balay.”
“We haven’t been informed yet, but most likely it will be Congresswoman Leni for Vice President,” said the source, an LP member.
Roxas’ running mate and the senatorial slate of the administration coalition would officially be announced on Oct. 5.
The LP will hold, as planned, the meeting of its top leaders in its Balay headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday. But “the formal announcement of the LP presidential, vice presidential candidates and Senate slate will be on Monday, Oct. 5,” LP deputy secretary general Josephine Sato said in a statement.
Sato, an Occidental Mindoro representative, said the Sept. 30 joint meeting of its national executive council and national directorate would comply with the Commission on Elections guidelines for the holding of a political party convention.
No official explanation was given for the postponement, but party leaders implied that they were still waiting for Robredo to accept the offer.
At a forum, Iloilo Rep. Jerry Treñas said the LP realized how difficult it must be for Robredo to make a decision. “Let’s all understand her situation. We’re praying together with her so she can make a good decision,” he said.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said Robredo would be a major asset to the ticket of the administration, citing the public’s sympathy for her late husband, her performance as a congresswoman and her background as a lawyer.
“She’s a very popular candidate especially among civil society groups,” he said at the forum.
One of the sources said Robredo’s biggest supporters in the LP were Senators Bam Aquino and Teofisto Guingona III and former Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
Senator Aquino declined to comment on negotiations with Robredo. “I am committed to help her whatever position she chooses to run for. Let’s just wait for her to make the announcement,” he said.
Pangilinan, who will make a comeback in the Senate next year, said: “I believe that she is the most ideal candidate for Secretary Mar.”
Pangilinan used to be a chair of Kaya Natin, the nongovernment organization formed by Jesse Robredo.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.