MANILA, Philippines - Did an Aquino ally's congressional bid force Atty. Leni Robredo, wife of the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, to run for congresswoman of Camarines Sur's 3rd District?
In a press briefing, Mrs. Robredo said she became a reluctant candidate for congresswoman due to threats that the Liberal Party would not fully support the party's chosen candidate.
She said that when her husband was alive, the party agreed that the candidate would be chosen through a series of surveys conducted by Ateneo.
"May 3 surveys na ginawa - June, August tsaka September. Yung survey na kinonduct ng September pinresent sa amin ng Ateneo nung Monday. Inaasahan ko sana yung resulta ng survey i-ho-honor pero mukhang may iba-ibang interpretasyon yung survey. Para sa akin, walang confusion yun. Nag-decide ako na si [Naga Vice Mayor Gabby] Bordado ang [tatakbo] dahil siya naman yung nakaano sa survey pero hindi nga nangyari yun. Binalitaan ako na nung Wednesday nung hapon, nag-file na rin si Atty. Joel Cadiz. Biglang naghirap yung kalagayan ng Liberal Party sa 3rd District," she said.
Cadiz, a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, resigned as Solicitor General last February to return to private life.
He then placed himself as LP's possible contender for congressman of Camarines Sur's 3rd District in the 2013 election.
Mrs. Robredo, meanwhile, took over as LP chairman of Camarines Sur after the death of her husband last August 18. It was her task to choose who among Cadiz and Bordado would be fielded by the LP to face Nelly Villafuerte, wife of incumbent Camarines Sur 3rd District Congressman Luis Villafuerte Sr., in the 2013 election.
Other LP congressional candidates in the province are Sabas Mabulo (2nd District), actor Aga Muhlach (4th District), and Salvio Fortuno (5th District).
In the press briefing, Robredo said she told Bordado that she was willing to risk a loss as long as the process of selection was respected.
She said that until Wednesday, she was adamant that she would not run for the congressional post.
However, she said some LP members had a different view and pressured her to run because her candidacy would unite the party. She said LP members believed only her candidacy would ensure an end to the Villafuerte dynasty in Camarines Sur's 3rd District.
"Ito yung pagkakataon na bumuti yung pamamalakad sa 3rd congressional district. Sabi nila, pag ako magkakandidato ito lang ang paraan para ma-unify yung party. Ako pinakinggan ko yun," she said.
Mrs. Robredo expressed admiration to Bordado for listening to their supporters and giving way but said she was placed in a tight spot because she was only given a few hours to decide.
She said even her own daughters cried and begged her not to run.
"Sabi ko sa kanila, nasasabi nila yan dahil hindi nila nakikita na dugo ang pawis ang ibinigay ng asawa ko para itaguyod yung grupo. For 19 years, ito yung mga taong sumusuporta sa kanya. Ito yung inaasahan niya tuwing election," she said, referring to Robredo's supporters in Naga City.
"It was too small a price to pay yung isasakripisyo yung sarili," she added.
Asked about news that Cadiz would no longer pursue his congressional bid but instead run for governor, she said: "Kung totoo po yun, salamat. Actually po, nalungkot ako sa mga pangyayari. Mga anak ko nga po may sama ng loob, na pakiramdam namin naitulak kami sa isang corner na wala kaming choice pero sana divine intervention yung nangyari. Parang leap of faith. Kung walang naging gulo, talagang hindi ako kandidato."
She also downplayed the Ateneo survey that showed 77% of voters would vote for her compared to Villafuerte's 22% if they decided to run against each other in the 2013 election.
She said the Ateneo survey was initially meant to show who between Cadiz and Bordado would have a better chance of winning in the election.