Robredo takes 12-hour public bus ride to cast vote in hometown
NAGA CITY— Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo took a 12-hour public bus ride from Quezon City to her hometown on the eve of Election Day in what she hoped would be a storybook ending to an underdog campaign.
Heavy traffic delayed the trip by two hours but the Camarines Sur congresswoman, in a yellow shirt and wearing no makeup, was all smiles as she greeted and posed for pictures with well-wishers upon alighting at the Naga terminal at a little past noon.
She was accompanied by her three daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian, four in-laws, members of her staff, and select media.
The 51-year-old Robredo tried to play it off as nothing more than her usual homecoming, saying it would cost a lot more to take flights, but the presence of a small army of reporters and cameramen showed otherwise.
“I hope [my town mates] are not turned off because of all the media around,” she said.
Robredo has often emphasized the contrast between her simple ways and the excesses of her rivals, particularly Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator.
The widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo had planned to attend morning Mass but had to scrap that because of the delay. After a private lunch with family, she was to make a visit to the Missionaries of the Poor in the afternoon. (Candidates are barred from campaigning on the eve of the elections.)
Speaking to reporters at the bus terminal, Robredo ruminated on the importance of Monday’s electoral exercise in deciding the future of the country. She said she prayed that the people would elect the right leaders, and that the elections would be held peacefully.
She was also glad to spend Mother’s Day with her daughters, saying she now hoped to be “a mother not only to my children but of the nation.”
Her eldest daughter Aika said she was just happy to survive the frenetic campaign season. “Finally, it’s over,” she said.
But perhaps not quite yet.
Robredo, who was thrust into politics after her husband died in a plane crash in August 2012, started out as a little-known underdog when she accepted the offer to be the running mate of LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas, who succeeded her husband in the interior department.
But the only woman and House member in a field crowded with male senators slowly raised her profile among the voters, rising up the ranks and going toe-to-toe with her rivals.
Her platform has focused on alleviating poverty and providing assistance to those living on the fringes of society, empowering women and children, and promoting transparency and honesty in governance.
From a one percent rating in October, she now enjoys frontrunner status, placing first or a close second to Marcos in the latest voter preference polls.
Robredo will cast her vote in the Tabuco Central School only minutes away from the family home. JE/rga
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