MANILA — Channeling the legacy of her late husband, Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday promised to shod the government in slippers to challenge what she dubbed "golden lies" that dupe voters.
Robredo said she launched her presidential campaign in her hometown Naga City because it was where she built a family with her late husband, interior secretary Jesse Robredo, and where she witnessed that honest leadership could defeat "old and rotten" politics.
"Dito, nagtiwala ang tao sa lider na nakikiisa sa kanya: Nakikipila, nakikiramay sa sapalaran, namumuhay nang simple gaya niya. Dito, may tinig ang karaniwang mamamayan, hindi lang tuwing halalan, kundi sa mismong sistema ng pamahalaan," Robredo told supporters in Naga.
(Here, people trusted a leader that is one with them, one who lines up, empathizes with them, lives simply like them. Here, ordinary citizens have a voice, not just during elections, but in the system of governance.)
"Dito, ang puwang para sa katiwalian, aktibong pinakikitid ng pakikilahok at bayanihan. Dito natin naipakita: Ang pag-angat, makakamtan nang hindi dinadaan sa salapi o sa palakasan, kundi sa sama-samang pagpapasya ng landas tungo sa kinabukasan."
(Here, the gap for corruption is actively narrowed through participation and bayanihan. Here, we showed: Progress is achieved not with through money or patronage, but through deciding together the path towards the future.)
Jesse was a 3-term mayor of Naga City, during which he instituted a merit-based system of hiring and promoting government employees, cleaned up local vice lords, organized roads to end gridlocks, and spurred new enterprises at the city's edges.
Known for wearing slippers and shirts, Jesse won the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, Asia's highest honor and version of the Nobel Prize, for his leadership of Naga.
His widow said if she won the presidency, "Susuotan natin ng tsinelas ang gobyerno at patatawirin sa mga pilapil papunta sa iyo. Sa ating pamamahala, laylayan ang magiging bagong sentro."
(We will shod the government in slippers and make it cross embankments to get to you. Under our government, the outskirts would be the new center.)
Robredo said her government would make healthcare accessible, find people employment opportunities in their community, link businesses to the market, seek public blessing to harvest natural resources, provide new houses to the urban poor before demolishing old ones, and give benefits and equipment to those who guard the seas.
"Ang mga napipilitang iasa ang kinabukasan sa ginintuang mga kasinungalingan, mamumulat na ang tunay na ginto, nasa puso ng bawat Pilipinong handang makipagbayanihan," said Robredo.
(Those who are forced to depend on golden lies for their future will awaken to the fact that true gold is in the heart of every Filipino who is ready to contribute to nation-building.)
Robredo in survey rankings trails the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whose family is accused of plundering billions from state coffers during his father's 1970s martial law—which they deny. The period also saw thousands arrested, tortured and killed.
While Robredo made no mention of Bongbong Marcos Jr. in her speech, he recently denied that his family was in possession of the fabled Yamashita treasure and a cache of gold bars.
Robredo told her supporters, "Hindi ako natatakot. Hindi ako kinakabahan, dahil nang tinawag ko kayong gisingin ang natutulog pang lakas, buong-buo ang naging tugon ninyo."
(I am not afraid. I am not nervous because when I called on you to wake up your slumbering strength, your response was whole.)
"Buong-buo ang tiwala ko sa bawat Pilipino. Tiwala ako sa tibay, sa husay ng bawat isa sa atin; sa liwanag ng ating kalooban; sa pag-asa at katotohanang magbibigkis sa ating bayan, katapatang mag-aangat sa buhay ng lahat," she said.
(My trust in every Filipino is whole. I trust the strength, the excellence of each of us; the light of our will, the hope and truth that will unite our nation, the integrity that will uplift the lives of everyone.)