CALOOCAN CITY - Jeepney driver Elmer Cordero of "Piston 6" on Saturday met Vice President Leni Robredo, moments before she took the stage at the CaMaNaVa rally.
Cordero, a Caloocan resident, was among the estimated 20,000 supporters who gathered at the Notre Dame of Greater Manila grounds on Saturday to support Robredo's presidential candidacy.
"Siya nag tunay na presidente, tapat, hindi sinungaling, hindi korupt," Cordero told media.
"Kagaya sa aming mga driver at operator, hindi naman natutupad ang pangako [sa amin], wala na kaming makain, wala nang biyahe. Si Leni tapat 'yan, 'pag sinabi, ginagawa," he added.
(Politicians promise us drivers and operators many things, but they never follow through. Now we don't have enough to eat, and we can't make ends meet driving our jeepneys. But Leni is honest, she delivers what she says.)
Cordero was one of the 6 public utility jeepney drivers arrested in June 2020 after they allegedly refused to stop protesting in EDSA for government aid and permission for jeepney drivers to ply the roads.
Netizens rallied behind Cordero, helping him raise funds to start a small convenience store.
The likes of Cordero found an ally in Robredo when the latter called for jeepneys to be allowed to resume their routes in July 2020 to help address the lack of transportation for frontliners who still have to report to work amid the enhanced community quarantine.
Cordero, meanwhile, hopes for the suspension of the excise tax, which places the burden of rising fuel prices on consumers.
He said he was not able to sustain the convenience store he started in 2020 to support their adopted child, and now sidelines as an electrician to make up for what he cannot earn driving his jeepney amid rising fuel prices.
Cordero accompanied Robredo as she entered the Caloocan rally venue, and stood beside the stage to listen to her speech.
Robredo on Friday said that suspending the excise tax on fuel may cost the government billions of pesos in revenue, but it may consider select exemptions to unburden those most affected.
"Ang tanong, kaya ba nating saluhin ‘yong mawawala na revenues sa gobyerno? Ang tantsa, mga between P2 to 3 billion a month ‘yong mawawala na revenue sa gobyerno, saan natin ‘yon huhugutin?” Robredo said in the presidential forum mounted by GoNegosyo and OneNewsPH.
(The question is how we can make up for the revenues the government will lose? Suspending excise tax completely may cost us between 2 to 3 billion a month. Where will we get that instead?)
The vice president said there are many points to consider when balancing the welfare of citizens with the revenues that the government needs to generate.