Mar makes ‘formal offer’ for Leni to join him
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur — Liberal Party standard bearer Manuel Roxas II on Friday formally invited Camarines Sur Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo to be his running mate for the 2016 polls.
“I was formally offered by Secretary Mar to be his running mate. I said that I would be thinking about it. The biggest influence would be my children,” said Robredo in a chance interview with reporters.
Robredo accompanied Roxas on Friday morning during the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia—Patroness of all Bicolandia, where Nueva Caceres Archbishop Rolando Joven Tria Tirona gave his blessings to the two.
Robredo reportedly sought Tirona’s guidance regarding Roxas’ invitation.
“The truth is, she [Robredo] doesn’t want to enter politics, but when she has seen the needs of her countrymen here in Naga, she stepped up,” Roxas said in an interview.
“I’m sure that Congresswoman Leni is with us in pushing for the straight path,” he added.
Robredo, together with Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, and former Agriculture czar Francisco Pangilinan are on the shortlist to be Roxas’ running mate, LP chairman for political affairs and Caloocan Rep. Edgardo Erice said on radio dzMM.
Robredo has said many times she is not keen on seeking the vice presidency.
In a deleted post on a social networking site, she posted a photo of her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, asking him for a “lifeline.”
In Sorsogon City, a top LP official in the province said they would support Roxas in the 2016 elections, but would also back their province mate Senator Francis Escudero, for the vice presidency.
“They have to understand. Sorsogon is different. We have to support Escudero because he is from here so it’s Mar-Chiz,” said Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee, referring to Escudero by his nickname.
Roxas said he was not worried that Escudero would split the vote in Sorsogon.
“I’m not worried. There’s only one Daang Matuwid under PNoy. All others are their own versions,” Roxas said.
The Palace on Friday said Robredo was qualified to be vice president.
“She has a very good head on her shoulders. She is also a lawyer and has no taint on her record,” said deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte.
Valte also pointed to Robredo’s record as a congresswoman, and her advocacy of transparency and accountability.
“We have worked with her on a number of initiatives,” Valte added.
Robredo is a proponent of a Freedom of Information bill that the Palace has not supported.
Valte acknowledged that Senator Grace Poe, not Robredo, was President Benigno Aquino III’s first choice to be Roxas’ running mate, but Poe has decided to run for president on her own.
“I think they [Aquino and Robredo] talked a month ago but they were talking about a possible Senate run,” she said.
Valte said there have been previous initiatives to convince Robredo to run for vice president.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda started a social media campaign to convince Robredo to run for vice president through the hashtag #jumpwithleni.
“There are other groups pushing her to run for vice president. This is not the first initiative to convince congresswoman Leni to run,” Valte said.
“Roxas is with Robredo right now in Naga. Let’s wait for Congresswoman Robredo’s decision on this, “ said Valte.
She said a Roxas-Robredo team would be formidable.
On Thursday, Aquino said he sees no problem with Poe running on a “daang matuwid” platform, and that it will be up to the Filipino people to vote who they think is a better candidate.
Both Aquino and Roxas have repeatedly tried without success to convince Poe to run as the Liberal Party’s vice president.