‘Leni can pull up Mar’
Now that she’s one of the top contenders for the vice presidency, Leni Robredo has emerged as the stronger candidate between her and administration standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
Robredo could help her lagging partner by talking about the Roxas she knows, the one rarely seen by the public, according to campaign strategist and former advertising executive Yoly Villanueva-Ong, who is helping Robredo.
“Whether she can pull him up—the only thing she can do is to talk about the Mar that she knows that no one else seems to know,” Ong told the Inquirer.
She said this could hopefully convert those who would choose the most decent candidate.
“Those who are open to that kind of logic and process will probably be swayed by a word or two from Leni Robredo, especially if they are already believers and supporters of Leni Robredo,” she said.
Robredo describes Roxas in positive terms and says that people do not know the Roxas she knows, according to Ong.
“She’s saying the Mar Roxas that the public does not know is a very caring person. Not epal [credit grabber], and true,” Ong said.
“Unfortunately there’s probably so much distance between the private Mar and the public Mar. The private Mar is the better Mar which unfortunately has not been projected as well,” she added.
Roxas has his own communications team in the campaign.
Ong also said there should be no disconnect in Roxas’ and Robredo’s message since they have the same programs and vision for the country. But there is a difference in how they execute the message, she said.
“In messaging there is what do you want to say and how do you want to say it, and what they want to say is, I think, completely compatible. But how they’re saying it is probably where the dichotomy is seen when there’s supposed to be really no dichotomy,” she said.
Ong attributes Robredo’s upward trajectory in the surveys to her authenticity as a person. She described as “phenomenal” Robredo’s ability to convert people to her side when they hear her speak.
She said when people get to know Robredo beyond being Jesse Robredo’s widow, that she provided free legal assistance, worked with an alternative lawyers’ group, and taught the most marginalized people about their legal rights, they like her.
“The moment they hear that is her body of work before becoming congresswoman, they’re convinced,” she said.
Robredo started out with single digits in voter popularity ratings after she accepted Roxas’ offer to be his running mate.
Since then, the first-term Camarines Sur representative had made a steady climb in the surveys.
“She’s easy to sell because she’s what you see is what you get. She’s authentic and that is the single x-factor that everyone looks for in a candidate,” Ong said. “Some just pretend to be authentic and are good at it, but this one, she doesn’t even have to try.”
Ong also played a role in President Aquino’s 2010 campaign.
It was she who came up with the phrase “kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap” that marked Aquino’s campaign. She also designed the yellow ribbon and dove used by his supporters.
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