MANILA, Philippines – #VPLeniDay trended on Twitter Saturday, April 23, the day Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Leni Robredo turned 51.
#VPLeniDay was used by netizen supporters of Robredo to greet her happy birthday.
This is not the first time she trended on Twitter, according to the Robredo camp, which pointed out that hours before the first vice presidential debate on April 10, the vice presidential bet already became one of the trending topics on the social media platform.
Prior to that, “Leni for VP” also became one of the top 5 trending topics on Twitter. When she accepted the offer of Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II to run as his vice president, Robredo also trended on Twitter.
Asked what her birthday wish was, Robredo replied, “Hindi ko naman pinagdadasal na manalo pero pakiramdam ko, kung ano iyong nakalaan, siya iyong mangyayari. Sana maging matahimik ang eleksiyon. Sana iyong mga tao makapamili ng mamumuno na tunay na nararapat para sa ating lahat. Sa pang-araw-araw, ipinagdadasal ko lang ang kalusugan at safety naming mag-iina, lalo na’t hiwa-hiwalay ang aming mga lakad.”
(I’m not really praying to win but my sense is, whatever is meant for you is what will happen. I hope the elections will be peaceful. I hope people are able to choose a leader who’s right for us all. Every day, I just pray for the health and safety of my family, especially since we go on separate ways.)
On Saturday, Robredo celebrated her birthday with several urban poor organizations in Camarin, Caloocan.
When asked about the withdrawn support of Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who is also provincial chairman of the Liberal Party, Robredo said in Filipino she was saddened by it because they had been together for a long time.
Robredo said she respects his decision and accepts that this is part of elections. “It happens all the time, may nababawas, may nadadagdag, ganoon naman talaga. Marami nang eleksiyon ang pinagdaanan ng pamilya namin. Parte ng proseso.”
(It happens all the time, there are subtractions and additions, that’s how it really is. Our family has gone through many elections and this is part of the process.)
There were early reports Salceda was jumping ship, but he made the formal announcement only on Friday, April 22. In his statement, Salceda said his president is Grace Poe because they share the same values and goals for the country, and that she has the competence and the heart to lead it.
Losing Salceda in the homestretch of the campaign, Robredo said the Liberal Party continues to woo supporters, even as she is saddened by those who leave.
“Kahit governor, kahit kapitan, kahit ordinaryong supporter, kapag lumilipat sa iba, nalulungkot tayo.Pero gaya ng sinabi ko, patuloy pa rin tayong nagkakausap, nanliligaw, nangungumbinsi, lalo po ako na nagsimula talaga na walang nakakakilala sa akin. Talagang extra effort din po para sa akin na ipakilala ang sarili ko. Lahat ng oras mahalaga. Suwerte po ako na maraming tumutulong na ipakilala ako. Ang mga anak ko parating nandiyan,” she added.
(Whether it’s a governor, barangay captain or ordinary supporter – whenever they shift support, we are saddened. But as I said, we continue to talk, court, convince, especially for me who started out as being unknown. It really took extra effort to introduce myself. Every hour was important. I am lucky that many are helping to introduce me. My children are always there.)
Robredo also said she hopes the Liberal Party’s loss of Salceda will be sufficiently covered by others who will join their ranks.
In Malacañang, Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said in an interview with radio dzRB that Salceda's decision was not out of character.
"Makulay naman talaga ang political career ni Governor Salceda (Governor Salceda has had a colorful political career) and he's known for hopping from one stand to another and that's part of his political identity," said the head of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office.
' Photo from Leni Robredo's Twitter page
Robredo’s camp on Saturday quoted actor Dingdong Dantes expressing his support for Robredo. “Andito ako bilang isang volunteer para sa kampanya ni Leni Robredo. Napakaganda ng pagkakataon dahil kaarawan niya ngayon.”
(I am here as a volunteer for the campaign of Leni Robredo. This is a wonderful chance because it is her birthday today.)
Dantes also said that while it is usual for people to give gifts to a birthday celebrant, it has become clear that Robredo – on account of her decision to run and her acceptance of the challenge – is the gift to all. “…Kaya naririto kami para suportahan siya (That’s why we are here to support her.)”
A lawyer for the poor, Robredo provided free legal aid to the marginalized sectors of society, including farmers, fishermen and abused women for a long time before becoming the representative of the 3rd District of Camarines Sur.
In TV5’s Bilang Pilipino mobile survey conducted by Social Weather Stations on April 14, Robredo ranked first in the vice presidential race, obtaining a national score of 30%. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr was second with 27%, while Senator Chiz Escudero was third with 25%.
In an earlier ABS-CBN survey done by Pulse Asia from April 5-10, however, Marcos was No. 1 with 27%, followed by Escudero with 23%, and Robredo with 21%. – Rappler.com