Leni Robredo as VP to help continue ‘daang matuwid’—Roxas
Ruling Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas said on Monday he decided to team up with Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in the next year’s general elections to ensure the continuity of the Aquino administration’s governance agenda of “daang matuwid” (straight path).
Saying it was an “insight” into the character of a presidential candidate, Roxas admitted that choosing a running mate was one of the difficult decisions he made as President Aquino’s candidate for president.
“Our message has always been about continuity,” Roxas said in his speech at Robredo’s proclamation at the storied Cory Aquino Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.
“It’s clear to me that when you speak about continuity, it’s not just about continuity of programs. What we’re looking for is the continuity of principles, integrity, concern and honesty, of putting the country first above yourself,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The former interior secretary thanked the Camarines Sur lawmaker and her three daughters for making “another sacrifice” for the country, noting how the family had suffered over the tragic death of her husband, the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, in a plane crash off Masbate in 2012.
Roxas, a close friend of Robredo’s late husband, visibly tried to hold back his emotions as he assured her of the LP’s and the President’s full support to her vice presidential campaign.
“We’re now witness to another sacrifice. The sacrifice of an ordinary individual; a single mother who was summoned and chosen by the straight path,” Roxas said.
“This is a sacrifice of three young women who lost their father in the name of public service. Now, they are again being called to offer their family for a higher objective,” he added. “This is a sacrifice of a family to put the country first before themselves.”
Officially introducing Robredo as his running mate, Roxas said: “Friends, fellow believers of the straight path, our bosses (the people), it is with great honor to present to you the candidate of the straight path for vice president, Leni Robredo.”
Turning to Robredo’s daughters, he said he shared their anxiety in their decision to let their mother seek the vice presidency despite their initial strong objection to the suggestion.
“To Aika, Tricia and Jillian, you have made a great sacrifice for this country… Your lives will be put on hold. I hope you are comforted by the thought that if we could ask your (father), if we had a lifeline to him, given the way he lived, we know that his reply would be: If that’s what’s good for the country, so be it,” he said.
He said Mr. Aquino’s straight path policy embodied Secretary Robredo’s principles, among them his belief in the importance of involving the grassroots organizations and the communities in designing government-funded projects.
In fact, he said the government’s bottom-up budgeting system, which Secretary Robredo had initiated, would be strengthened and expanded in the provinces and at the national level.
He said the straight path, which he said was created based on the “ideals of the nation,” would be “deeper and more fast forward in the next higher level of progress.”
“This is what the straight path has put into practice these past five years: Achieving our dreams through good governance (and) inclusive growth through the empowerment of families and communities. These (were) all made possible by responsive, participatory institutions,” Roxas said.
According to Roxas, the 2016 elections will offer the country “a rare chance for us not to have a reset and the need to return to square one.”
“The old wounds of the society have healed and we can now move forward to the next level of development,” he said.
“I just want to stress this; This, all of this, could not have been possible without (the President),” he said, drawing applause from those inside the packed venue.
“The (President) told us that now we can dream again. He said we, the people, are his strength. But the truth is, (the President) was the guide and inspiration of the people in making our dreams a reality,” Roxas added.
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