MAGARAO, Camarines Sur - Vice President Leni Robredo said on Monday she was at peace as she cast her vote in the 2022 elections, where she hoped to succeed President Rodrigo Duterte despite the survey lead of her rival Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
“Masaya ako na tapos na ang campaign period, na nabigyan akong pagkakataon na gawin ang lahat ng pwedeng gawin na di nag-resort sa kahit anong 'di maganda. Pumunta ako dito na tahimik at panatag ang loob," Robredo told media in a chance interview.
(I am happy that the campaign period is over, that I was given a chance to do all that I could without resorting to anything bad. I came here with a quiet and peaceful heart.)
Cheers and chants of her name greeted Robredo at her polling precinct at the Carangcang Elementary School here, which were quickly subdued as election officers kept the crowd orderly.
Robredo queued for around 2 hours before casting her ballot.
The school houses only 4 clustered precincts for the 2022 polls, but the line of voters snaked past the school’s gates as early as 6:30 a.m.
This is the first time that Robredo voted in Magarao. She transferred her voter registration and residency in the town from Naga City after inheriting property from her parents.
“Iba ang buhay sa labas ng lungsod, mas tahimik, mas nakakapagpahinga. Yung aming kapitbahay have been treating me as family,” she said.
(Life outside the city is different. It's more quiet, you can rest more easily. My neighbor has been treating me as family.)
Robredo arrived in Naga City on Sunday, after her miting de avance in Makati City, which organizers say drew some 780,000 supporters.
The Vice President ate dinner with her daughters Aika, Tricia, and Jillian in Naga on the eve of the elections. She also met with the Archbishop of Caceres Rolando Tirona and visited the grave of her late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Magarao is less than half an hour's drive away from Naga.
Robredo has yet to reveal where she will spend the next days as canvassing of votes progresses, but her team has established headquarters in Naga and in Metro Manila.
A Pulse Asia survey in April showed Marcos heading towards a landslide win. He had a double-digit lead over Robredo and she will need a low turnout of Marcos Jr voters or a late surge of support for her to score an upset.
While Marcos had a 75 percent chance of winning, the outcome was not guaranteed, according to Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford, who said potential complacency among his supporters could work in Robredo's favor.
Robredo, a 57-year-old lawyer and economist, has promised to clean up the dirty style of politics that has long plagued the feudal and corrupt democracy where a handful of surnames hold sway over the country.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse