(ABS-CBN News, Based on Research by ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group)
Born on April 23, 1964, Bicolana Leni Robredo lived a relatively private life.
She spent years in Naga, where she earned her bachelor of laws degree from the University of Nueva Caceres, before passing the bar in 1990.
She also has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of the Philippines, earned in 1986.
ROAD TO POLITICS:
A mom to daughters Jessica Marie, Janine Patricia, and Jillian, Leni was hurled into the spotlight after husband Jesse died.
Shortly after her husband's untimely demise, Robredo was assigned to take over his position as Chair of the Liberal Party in Camarines Sur.
She ran, although reluctantly, and won as Camarines Sur First District Representative.
Robredo toppled the nearly 40-year reign of the Villafuerte clan in the 3rd District of Camarines Sur. She ran against Atty. Nelly Villafuerte, wife of three-term Congressman Luis Villafuerte who ran for governor in 2013 but lost to grandson Miguel.
But after just one term in Congress, her allies convinced her to try a higher position.
Robredo initially said that she would like to run for re-election as Congresswoman or for the Senate, and that running for vice president was “not among her options.”
She initially said she would not enter politics for the sake of her children, despite the urging of Liberal Party officials and her husband’s supporters. However, she decided to run to “unify” the party, which was “on the brink of fragmentation” because two of its officials wanted to run for the same post. Robredo filed her candidacy only on the last day of filing certificates of candidacy.
Robredo declared the following in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth as of December 31, 2014:
ASSETS: P14,932,124 (of which, Real Properties: P1,735,000 and Personal Properties: P13,197,123)
NET WORTH: P8,032,124
Campaign Spending and Contribution"
For her 2013 bid for Representative of 3rd District of Camarines Sur, Robredo received a total of P1,615,065 worth of contributions for her campaign. She spent only P960,304.34. This means she had P654,760.66 in excess campaign donations after the elections.
Majority of the funds she received, or P1,452,425, were cash donations from individuals. Robredo’s top donors were lawyer-businesswoman Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Jose Mari Chan, who donated P500,000 each.
ON THE COMPARISON BETWEEN HER HUSBAND’S AND GRACE POE’S CITIZENSHIP ISSUES
In an interview on Bandila on Sept. 2, Robredo said that the citizenship case filed against her husband, Jesse, when he was running for Naga City Mayor was different from that of Poe’s. Robredo said that her husband’s case had to do with Jesse’s paternal grandparents being Chinese and that he never renounced his Filipino citizenship at any point in his life, unlike what Poe did when she became a US citizen.
ON GRACE POE’S RENUNCIATION OF CITIZENSHIP
In another interview with ANC meanwhile, Robredo said that Filipinos “do not deserve” a president who renounced her citizenship. She added that the question about Sen. Grace Poe's citizenship is “not about legality or qualifications” but about “loyalty to country.”
ON HER RELUCTANCE TO RUN FOR VP
- Robredo initially said that she would not run for vice president because her children did not want to live their lives in the public eye. She admitted that she was considering running for re-election or for the Senate. It took no less than Pres. Aquino to convince Robredo’s children to allow their mother to run for VP. In her acceptance speech at Club Filipino in October 2015, Robredo said: "Buong puso, buong pananampalataya at buong tapat kong tinatanggap ang hamon na tumakbo bilang pangalawang pangulo ni Mar Roxas
Policy measures that Robredo authored include those that seek to promote transparency and accountability, people’s participation in governance, rural development, women empowerment, among others. Some of the notable ones are:
- Full Disclosure Bill (House Bill No. 19), which seeks to mandate government agencies to fully disclose their financial transactions, budgets, and documents of public interest. Robredo promised to push this measure during her campaign.
- Freedom of Information Bill (HB 3237)
- People Empowerment Bill, which seeks to create a system of partnership between local governments and civil society organizations through the establishment of people's councils in local government units
- A bill that she authored was signed into law. This is RA 10638, An Act extending the corporate life of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) for another fifty (50) years, further amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 4156