Robredo urges voters: Look beyond candidates’ popularity

MANILA, Philippines – Three months before the May midterm elections, Vice President Leni Robredo called on voters to look past the popularity of the candidates and instead focus on their track record.

The Vice President endorsed the senatorial bets of the Otso Diretso ticket during her meeting with various sectoral leaders of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija and San Fernando City, Pampanga on Monday, February 18. (READ: Robredo to youth: Focus on track record, not candidates' promises

“Sana hindi lang popularidad iyong gawing mahalaga. Pero sana pag-aralan iyong lahat na nagpiprisinta ng sarili nila at humihingi ng ating tulong,” Robredo, the leader of the opposition, told reporters in Pampanga about what she told the sectoral representatives.

(I hope you won’t just consider popularity as an important factor. I hope you would also study the offer of the other candidates who are presenting themselves and are asking for our help.)

She said Filipinos should ask themselves where the candidates stood on issues even before the campaign season began.  

“Parati kong sinasabi: Kapag panahon kasi ng eleksyon, lahat mahal iyong mahihirap, lahat handang magsakripisyo. Pero iyong parati lang nating pakiusap: Tingnan nasaan ba sila noong wala pang eleksyon. Ano ba iyong mga tinatayuan nila kahit walang kampanya? Kasi iyon iyong tamang sukat kung iyong kanila bang pina-promise sa mga tao ay magagampanan nila,” said the Vice President.

(I always say this: In every election, everyone loves the poor, everyone is ready to make sacrifices. But I also ask the public: Look where these people were before the elections. Where did they stand on issues before the campaign? Because that’s the right way to gauge if they would be able to fulfill their promises.)

Most of the members of the Otso Diretso senatorial lineup are banking on Robredo’s star power to help boost their dismal performance in the pre-election surveys. 

Only reelectionist Senator Bam Aquino and former interior secretary Mar Roxas have so far been part of the so-called winners’ circle. 

The rest of Otso Diretso – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, ex-solicitor general Florin Hilbay, election lawyer Romy Macalintal, and ex-Quezon congressman Erin Tañada – have yet to breach the Magic 12.

The Vice President has already vowed to strongly campaign for the opposition coalition’s senatorial slate. (READ: Can Otso Diretso do a repeat of Robredo’s 2016 victory?)

Robredo said she would “take advantage” of her community visits to talk about the Otso Diretso candidates.  

“Iyong pag-iikot ko, alam niyo naman na since nagsimula ako sa panunungkulan ko, talagang dalawa, 3 araw sa bawat linggo, nasa communities talaga ako. Pero since ngayon ay election season, ite-take advantage ko na iyong pagkakataon na pinapakilala iyong mga kandidatong pinapaniwalaan natin na makakasilbi sa atin nang tunay,” said Robredo.

(Ever since I started my term, you know that I would spend two to 3 days of the week to go to the communities. Now that it is the election season, I would take advantage of the opportunity to introduce the candidates whom we believe would truly be of service to the people.)

Since 2016, the Vice President has been visiting different areas across the country as part of her flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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