Mar Roxas asks Leni Robredo to be his running mate

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – Administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II formally asked Camarines Sur Third District Representative Leni Robredo to be his running mate on Friday, September 18, reports said.

Robredo confirmed this to reporters in an interview in Naga City, which Roxas visited that morning, DZMM reported.

The neophyte lawmaker, the widow of former interior secretary Jesse Robredo, said she would have to carefully think about the offer before making any decision.

Robredo asked for prayers so that she would make the "right decision," the report said.

The biggest influence, she said, would be her children. Robredo had said in earlier interviews that her 3 daughters are against her possible bid for the vice presidency.

Roxas is expected to meet with the Robredo children on the matter.

Robredo, a lawyer, had earlier expressed reservations about gunning for the second highest elective post in the country, saying it was "too soon" for someone like her who had just started a political career.

She joined the House of Representatives in 2013 and put an end to the Villafuerte dynasty in Camarines Sur. The Villafuertes are now allied with presidential wannabe Senator Grace Poe. 

On September 8, Robredo's supporters launched a "one million signatures" campaign in hopes of convincing the neophyte legislator to run for vice president.

The ruling party had wooed neophyte Senator Grace Poe to be its vice presidential candidate. Roxas' formal offer to Robredo comes two days after Poe announced her presidential bid.

Aside from Poe and Robredo, the LP also eyed Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano as a possible running mate for Roxas. READ: Who will be Mar Roxas' VP? List: Poe, Robredo, Cayetano)

LP members in Escudero bailiwick

But administration allies who have tried to persuade Robredo say she would enhance the Liberal Party tandem because, among others, she hails from Bicol, a region that has produced national candidates.

Poe's running mate, Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, is also from Bicol.

Robredo and Escudero, in fact, are both from Sorsogon but have different backgrounds and experiences.

The LP recently secured the support of 7 out of 15 incumbent mayors of Sorsogon, the home province of Escudero. (READ: Will it be Mar-Chiz in Sorsogon? How about Leni?)

Sorsogon, with its 400,000 voters, is seen to be a problem area for LP in 2016 thus the party's moves to consolidate forces there this early. The province's first district is held by Escudero's mother Representative Evelina Escudero, who is a member of the Nationalist People's Coaltion (NPC). 

But Albay Governor Joey Salceda, the LP regional chairman in Bicol, said Escudero’s announcement of his vice presidential bid might have preempted Robredo’s. (READ: 'Chiz trumps Leni': Albay gov says Bicolanos don't run against each other)

He referred to the tendency of Bicolanos not to run against each other for national positions to preserve the region’s bloc vote. 

“Chiz runs for VP of Grace Poe. That trumps Leni since it is not good for a Bicolano to fight another Bicolano unless there (sic) it involves game-changing reasons,” Salceda said in Facebook post late Thursday morning, September 17, right after Escudero declared his vice presidential bid.  Rappler.com