MANILA - Nine framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution picked Vice President Leni Robredo as their choice among the 10 presidential aspirants in the May elections.
In a statement released Thursday, Atty. Felicitas Aquino-Arroyo, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, Florangel Rosario Braid, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., Edmundo Garcia, Atty. Christian Monsod, Atty. Rene Sarmiento, Jaime Tadeo and Wilfrido Villacorta said they are also backing the vice presidential bid of Robredo's running-mate, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan.
"The heart of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines is the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights which responds to the aspirations of the most vulnerable sectors of our society, particularly, the farmers and, workers, the rural and urban poor, persons with disabilities, women and members of people’s organizations," they said.
They stressed that the Constitution demands compliance with the Bill of Rights and respect for the co-equal branches of government.
"We believe that the ideals articulated by the tandem of Vice-President Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan indeed strongly conform to the imperatives expressed in the Basic Charter that we worked on and presented to the people during the education campaign we conducted across the country," they said.
"VP Leni’s life-long advocacies as a lawyer serving the poor and as an economist focusing on inclusive efforts to uplift the lives of those on “the fringes” of society provide a testament to her singular dedication to address the main challenges our country now confronts: poverty and inequality."
They said that Robredo and Pangilinan's track records demonstrate their competence "as servant leaders who can "inspire generations of our people to bring our country to its greatness."
Prior to this endorsement, Robredo already got the support of human rights advocates, economists, former United Nations officers, and high-ranking officials of previous administrations.
The international council of the Couples for Christ (CFC) Catholic lay movement also threw its support behind her.
Earlier, at least 569 priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters from various archdioceses, dioceses, and congregations signed a declaration saying Robredo and Pangilinan both have the "moral ascendancy and aptitude" to be the country's next leaders.
The Council of the Laity of the Philippines (Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas) also endorsed Robredo's candidacy.
The Catholic Church as an institution never endorses election candidates, but members of the clergy, consecrated religious, and lay people have been speaking up to endorse Robredo and Pangilinan.
Latest pre-election surveys of Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations show Robredo as the second preferred presidential candidate in the May 9 elections, next to former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.
The other candidates include senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Manny Pacqiuao, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, labor leader Leody De Guzman, former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, Jose Montemayor Jr., and Faisal Mangondato.