Leni on VP win: Napakaimposible pero nangyari

Pia Regalado, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - For Congresswoman Leni Robredo, her win was almost impossible.

Robredo defeated 5 male senators, including Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator, in the 2016 vice-presidential election.

Her victory confirmed her statement in the April 17 vice-presidential debate that the last man standing in the vice-presidential race will be a woman.

WATCH: Leni Robredo: Last man standing is a woman

Robredo, the administration Liberal Party's (LP) vice-presidential bet, finished first in the final tally of votes by Congress, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), on the 58th birthday of her late husband.

Robredo got 14,418,817 votes based on the 167 certificates of canvass (COCs). She won by a slim margin of 263,473 over Marcos, Jr., who placed second with 14,155,344.

In a live interview on TV Patrol Friday night, Leni said she received the news as her family was commemorating her late husband Jesse Robredo's 58th birthday in Camarines Sur.

Jesse, who was interior and local government secretary, died in a plane crash in August 2012.

"Grabe pa ang coincidence kasi nagkaroon kami ng misa, at pagkatapos na pagkatapos ng misa ay saka namin nabalitaan na tapos na pala ang canvassing," she said.

She said she had expected the canvassing to finish on the first or second week of June.


For Robredo, her win was an impossible feat.

Robredo said in the interview that if her husband were alive, he would not have let her venture into politics as long as he was still serving in government.

"Never ko inisip na one day, papasok din ako sa pulitika. Naiba lang lahat nang mamatay asawa ko noong 2012."

After Jesse's death, Robredo entered politics and won as the representative of the third district of Camarines Sur.

"Napakaimposible nang nangyari na naging posible, lalo na ang vice president [position]."

Her daughters Aika and Tricia were ecstatic over their mother's stunning win.

"On his 58th birthday, Papa Jesse shares his most precious gift — our one and only Mama Leni. Ang panalo ni Leni ay panalo ng bawat Pilipino. Maraming salamat at congratulations po sa ating lahat!" Aika said on Facebook.

The odds were stacked against Robredo during the 90-day campaign. She wasn't prepared for a vice-presidential run since she was only the second choice of President Aquino and the Liberal Party; their first choice was Senator Grace Poe, who opted to run as an independent.

Robredo suffered from low awareness among voters and was behind in surveys during most of the campaign. She caught up and tied with Marcos in pre-election surveys only in the homestretch.

READ: Leni, Bongbong share lead in new ABS-CBN survey

Most of all, 4 out of the 6 vice-presidential candidates were all from Bicol, which meant a split regional vote for Robredo, who is from Naga City, Camarines Sur. Senators Chiz Escudero (Sorsogon), Antonio Trillanes (Albay), Gregorio Honasan (Sorsogon) all have roots in Bicol.

On the other hand, Marcos Jr. had the so-called Solid North or the Ilocano vote behind him.


In the TV Patrol interview, Robredo clarified that she will not ask presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte for any position in the Cabinet.

Duterte's camp earlier said the winning vice presidential candidate may choose any Cabinet post he or she wants.

Robredo said it is still Duterte's choice whether to give her a Cabinet portfolio.

But if she were to be given a choice, Robredo said she will choose the one that handles the anti-poverty programs of the government.

She noted that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) oversees the biggest anti-poverty program of the government.

"Ito naman kasi ang expertise ko mula noon, mula pa noong abogado ako [simula] 1999, ito na ang trabaho ko, nakikipagtulungan ako sa marginalized."

Robredo is a human rights lawyer, whose advocacies include zero hunger, inclusive growth, and gender equality.