MANILA—Should she lose in the May 2022 presidential race, Vice-President Leni Robredo is ready to go back to development work and alternative lawyering.
“I was a development worker and alternative lawyer for many, many years. I have just been a politician for close to 9 years. So para sa akin, it will not be difficult for me to go back to the life I was leading before my husband died and before I entered politics,” she told ANC “Rundown” in an interview aired Thursday.
“I will still be doing the things the things that I have been doing before I became a politician and that is working very, very closely with the margins. I will still continue with all my advocacies. Siguro nadagdagan lang ngayon, Mike. Before kasi ’yung advocacy ko is really empowering through legal education. Pero siguro ngayon, I will also be very heavily involved with education and governance. That is actually the main focus of the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation,” she added.
Named after her husband, the late Interior secretary, the Jesse M. Robredo Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to promote public service and good governance as well as development through empowering local communities.
Prior to entering public service, Robredo worked at the Naga City Public Attorney’s Office in 1996 after finishing her law studies in 1992 at the University of Nueva Caceres in 1992.
She passed the Bar Exams in 1997 and joined the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal or Saligan (Alternative Legal Assistance Center), a legal resource NGO doing developmental legal work with farmers, workers, the urban poor, women and local communities from 1998 to 2008.
Following her husband’s death in a plane crash in August 2012, Robredo won a House seat before winning the vice presidential race in 2016.
Robredo has consistently placed second behind presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos Jr. in recent surveys.
In the December 2021 Pulse Asia survey, Robredo placed second with 20% compared to Marcos’ 53%.
By comparison, in the December 2015 Pulse Asia vice presidential survey, she ranked 4th with 14% compared to Marcos’ 23% at second place and former Sen. Chiz Escudero’s 29% in first place.
But Robredo remains optimistic about her chances, given the level of support she has received from volunteers.
“Malakas ’yung loob ko, Mike, kasi unang-una tinalo ko na siya in 2016. And in 2016, I also started with very low numbers. Mas mabuti-buti na nga ngayon. Kasi in 2016, I was number 6 of 6 candidates. I had to literally igapang ang sarili ko paakyat and I was able to do it. So ang sinasabi ko lang na ngayon nga na mas marami ’yung mga volunteers na very invested, lalong yung possibility na kakayanin, nand’yan,” she said.
But she said there won’t be any regrets.
“The 2022 elections is not just a fight between 2 or more candidates. But it’s actually a decision we have to make. Ano bang klaseng pulitika ’yung gusto nating manaig sa atin? Ano bang klaseng governance ’yung gusto nating manaig sa atin? What I’m offering is so different from what Mr. Marcos is offering. Ako, para sa akin, mas transformative. Ayoko ng patronage politics. Sa akin, yung gusto kong pulitika ’yung hindi siya masama. Pero pulitika should be a vehicle to transform not just the lives of our people pero to transform the role that ordinary people should play in governance,” she said.
“Kung hindi ako mapili, gusto kong sabihin, pinili ng tao na ’yung dati pa rin. Mas gusto pa din ’yung pulitika ng patronage. Mas gusto pa din na mahalaga ’yung pera, mahalaga ’yung pangalan, mahalaga kung sino kakampi as against what we are offering . . . Sa akin, parang ano naman to e, walang sama ng loob,” she added.
“There is so much at stake but what is at stake is not just my winning or my losing these elections. But what is the direction that we would want our government to take in the next 6 years.”