MANILA, Philippines – What does the future hold for the Robredo family?
Three weeks after the ill-fated plane crash that killed DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, his wife Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo gave her thoughts on how her family has coped, the possible career paths of her 3 children and who is most likely to follow her husband in a political career.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Mrs. Robredo said the entire family is taking it one day at a time as they try to go back to their former lives. “Kapag walang ginagawa, diyan nararamdaman ang lungkot,” she told DZMM anchor Korina Sanchez.
She said she is currently busy going to several commitments that her husband had agreed to, including a summit of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in Iriga City.
She also said she is mulling a possible move to Metro Manila since 2 of her daughters, Aika and Patricia, live there.
“After this school year, mukhang kami ang pupunta sa Manila. Mas madali i-uproot si Jillian (her youngest daughter) kasi bata. Mahirap yung dalawa kasi yung isa 3rd year college tapos yung isa magta-trabaho. Dadalas-dalasan na lang naming yung uwi kasi dito nakalibing yung asawa ko,” she said.
Leni said she and Jillian usually take the bus to visit their sisters in Quezon City. She said she sees nothing wrong with taking the bus even though her husband was mayor of Naga City for 18 years and held one of the highest positions in the Cabinet.
“At least sa bus, matutulog ka. Pag gising mo, nasa terminal ka na sa Cubao,” she said.
One development that could affect her plan is her inclusion in the short list of candidates for Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge in Bicol. Leni said her father was also an RTC judge for 30 years.
Leni said she applied for the job last year and was interviewed last February. If she gets the job, she said she will request for a possible transfer so she could still be near her kids.
“Kung matuloy man ito, I will request for transfer at a later date. Tutal ngayon Naga resident pa rin ako. Hindi pa plantsado yung aming mga plano. Kung matuloy man ito, magrerequest ako ng transfer. Pwede naman po yun at merong lugar na lilipatan,” she said.
For now, though, she said she wants to concentrate on her children.
Aika has already finished college and is currently employed while Tricia is in 3rd year in a pre-med course at the Ateneo de Manila University. Their youngest sibling, Jillian, is in first year high school.
Leni said Aika is planning to take up her master’s degree, which she had already planned with her father.
“Marami pa siyang mga pangarap. Nagpaplano siya na mag masters. Sinabi ko sa kanya na kahit wala na ang papa niya, ituloy niya pa rin dahil matagal nilang pinag-uusapang mag-ama yun at ine-encourage siya ng kanyang papa na mag-aral ulit. Siguro ma-de-delay lang kaunti,” she said.
Her youngest, Jillian, meanwhile, still does not know what she wants to study in college since she is still a freshman in high school.
Leni confirmed that Jillian had always wanted to enter showbiz. She said she agreed to the plan but only after she has finished college.
“Sabi ko, siguro kapag mas tumanda na siya nang konti at natapos na siya mag-aral at [kung] gusto pa niya ay saka na lang. Pero hindi ngayon na bata pa siya," Leni said.
"Maliit pa siya gusto na niya talaga [mag-artista]. Kahit 'yung tatay niya binibiro siya niyan. Mahilig ito. Pero sinasabi ko sa kanya, hindi pa niya kaya ang sarili niya at kailangan ako pa ang magdesisyon para sa sarili niya," she added.
Leni, meanwhile, said her middle child, Tricia, would likely follow her father’s footsteps. She said Tricia was active in school politics and was student council president in high school. She is also active in community work and various causes, like her father.
Leni said Tricia was very much like her father, shy towards people but soft-hearted towards the poor.
“Si Tricia pinakamahiyain sa anak ko. Mas outgoing yung panganay at bunso. Ang personality ni Tricia parang papa niya. Si Jess kasi medyo mahiyain yan e pero ironically siya yung nag pulitiko. Sa tingin ko, parang si Tricia yung puso nito parang papa niya rin e. Masyadong maawain sa mga mahihirap. Ito yung lahat ng savings niya dino-donate niya sa kung ano-anong causes. Ganun siya. Masyadong matipid tulad ng papa niya,” she said.
She added: “Siya talaga yung nakikitaan ko pero sabi ko sa kanya, mag-doctor ka muna, anak. Para kung anuman yung options niya mas malawak.”
Leni again said it is unlikely that she will enter politics despite offers to continue the work of her husband.
She said that for now, she needs to continue the healing process and help her children.
“I am not indispensable. There are many who want to run so I don’t see the need for me to become a candidate,” she said.
“Andaming contenders pero yung mga anak ko, isa na lang ang magulang. Ako na lang, parang hindi ko na sila i-di-deprive nun. Kasi definitely, pag pumasok ako sa pulitika, maraming oras at panahon yung makukuha nila sa akin at nasasayang yung oras na yun para sa mga anak ko. Mas kailangan nila ako ngayon sa mga panahong ito.”