Robredo won’t pressure Aquino’s sisters on Roxas

Rep. Leni Robredo

MANILA – She may have secured the support of President Benigno Aquino III’s sisters, but Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo will not pressure them into openly endorsing her running mate Mar Roxas as well.

“For me, an endorsement is something that comes voluntarily. I cannot interfere with that,” the Camarines Sur representative said on Monday when asked whether the Aquino sisters were also backing Roxas, their brother’s chosen successor.

“I am just thankful for their statements endorsing me. But I do not want to preempt them [on a presidential endorsement]. We have not talked about this,” Robredo said in an interview after opening the National Women’s Month celebration in Quezon City.

The Aquino sisters, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abelleda, Viel Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino, have thrown their support behind the widow of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo since the campaign season began last month.

At a recent birthday party for the President, Robredo said she met Kris who told her, “I want to help you. I want to support you.”

“Of course, I was like ‘Thank you!’ That’s Kris Aquino. The value of her endorsement is huge,” she said.

Ballsy and Pinky joined Robredo at a speaking engagement in Pampanga, where “they even gave a talk in one of our meetings,” she said.

As for Viel, Robredo said her support was mostly behind the scenes, including visits to her campaign headquarters a number of times.

But the Aquino sisters have yet to publicly and unequivocally express support for Robredo’s running mate Roxas, although they have made a number of appearances at LP events with the President.

In November last year, Roxas, facing an Inquirer panel, was asked whether he believed he enjoyed the sisters’ support.

He replied: “The short answer is yes. But I think we must put this in context. The President’s sisters have always been private people. They left their cocoon because [Aquino] is their brother. I am not their brother or relative.”

Robredo’s campaign style may not be “patok” or in vogue among voters—she doesn’t crack jokes or hand out giveaways—but she believes it’s time to change the game with simple, honest-to-goodness sincerity.
“You have to show the real you. I don’t believe that we politicians—and many fall into this trap—need to just say what the electorate wants to hear,” she said.

On the campaign trail, Robredo would usually start with an introductory spiel about her life with her late husband and their three daughters. She would pepper her speeches with anecdotes and recollections.
On occasion, she would talk about the events that led to her decision to run for Vice President, leading off with Jesse Robredo’s death in a plane crash in August 2012.

Then she would launch into a discussion of her plans and advocacies.

A lawyer and economics graduate, Robredo, together with her running mate Roxas, has crafted a platform that builds upon the signature policies of President Aquino, particularly its “tuwid na daan (straight path)” mantra of honest governance.

On her own, however, she likes to talk about the issues that are closest to her heart, such as social justice, women empowerment, grassroots participation, human rights and transparency in governance.
Speaking before the women of Barangay Loyola Heights yesterday, the LP candidate gave a 40-minute lecture about gender development, complete with Powerpoint slides.

“I know what women empowerment means because I have been through this experience. I know what poor rural women are going through. My engagement has been in the grassroots, and it shows,” she said.