Robredo visits Marcos turf, offers self as alternative
April Rafales, ABS-CBN News Ilocos
LAOAG - Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo on Friday visited the province of Ilocos Norte, a known bailiwick of one of her opponents, Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
The streets of Laoag were noticeably quiet and empty of vocal Robredo supporters as the Camarines Sur representative's convoy passed by the main business districts and residences. But at the hall of the Northwestern University, she was welcomed by around 500 cheering students and teachers.
Asked by a student how she got the courage to campaign in a known turf of the Marcos family, Robredo explained that she is offering herself as an alternative.
"Wala akong tinatago. Ang dala-dala ko lang kung sino ako. Kahit given na balwarte ito ng mga Marcos, I think I owe everyone a chance to know me para merong alternative," she said.
"Yung mga eleksyon na dinaanan ko, ganun din po yung sabi sa akin. I was running against a very powerful politician in my district, parang sinasabi din dun 'ang lakas naman ng loob mo kalabanin.' Pero sa akin kasi, I have so much faith in the Filipino electorate already. Ang tingin ko naman yung mga tao ngayon mas tinitingnan yung pagkatao ng kumakandito, mas bukas yung isip para tumanggap ng mga bagong alternatibo.
"Kaya yung sa akin, yung pagpunta ko, ipapakilala ko yung sarili ko. Kasi sa dulo ng lahat, yung paghuhusga nasa inyo pa din," added Robredo.
Robredo, for the first time, ran for a seat in Congress in 2013, trouncing Nelly Villafuerte of the influential Villafuerte clan in Camarines Sur.
The March 1-6 Pulse Asia survey commissioned by ABS-CBN and which covered 2,600 respondents showed Robredo getting 21% voter support, only 4 percentage points behind front runner Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero (25%) and statistically tied with Marcos (22%).
Robredo said Marcos has the responsibility to acknowledge and apologize for the mistakes of his father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The younger Marcos has repeatedly refused to apologize for the atrocities and human rights violations committed during his father's regime.
Robredo said unless Marcos acknowledges that and apologizes, the Philippines can never truly move on, and unless there is closure, a Marcos cannot go back to Malacañang.
She said the younger Marcos cannot separate himself from the shadows of his father.
READ: Bongbong: 'Closure' not within my power
READ: Robredo: No giving up pursuit for Marcos' ill-gotten wealth
Meanwhile, Robredo was also asked about the issue of political dynasties.
"Nararapat lang na iisang miyembro lang ng pamilya ang papasok sa pulitika dahil nababawasan ang chance ng ibang tao para magsilbi kapag madaming magkakamag-anak ang nasa pulitika. Naging rule ito sa aming pamilya," she said.
During her visit in Laoag, the LP candidate also met with nuns and priests at the Carmelite Chapel. The nuns exchanged blessed tokens with Robredo and also prayed over the congresswoman.
The Diocese of Laoag said they are not endorsing any candidate, but encouraged voters to "know the history" and "pay attention to the track record of candidates."