Robredo to LP: 'We were made for times such as this'
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo rallied her allies from the Liberal Party (LP), urging them to rebuild the organization amid criticism being hurled at them under the Duterte administration.
"Siguro iyong araw na ito, tapos na iyong pahinga, 'di ba? Parang nagpahinga tayo ng isang taon, pinagbigyan natin, transition. [Pero] ito, it's time to work. It's time to rebuild the party," said Robredo during the meeting of the LP's National Executive Council (NECO) on Thursday, August 10. A statement containing parts of her speech was sent to reporters on Friday, August 11.
(Perhaps starting today, the rest period is over, right? We took a break for a year and gave way for transition. But now, it's time to work. It's time to rebuild the party.)
"'Pag inisip natin na gaano pa katagal, at inisip natin kung anong kahirapan iyong dinaanan, parang siguro panlulumo iyong nararamdaman. Pero 'pag binalikan natin iyong kasaysayan ng Liberal Party, parang we were made for these times, for times such as this," added Robredo, the LP's chairperson.
(If we're going to think that there's still a long way to go, and if we think about the hardships we went through, it can be depressing. But if we go back to the history of the Liberal Party, we were made for these times, for times such as this.)
The event was the LP's first official gathering since the 2016 polls, when its standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II lost to then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for the presidency.
Robredo herself won a hairline victory against former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who accused her of cheating and filed an electoral protest against her. (READ: SC bars Robredo supporters from helping pay P7-M protest fee)
The Vice President had also resigned as housing czar in December 2016 after Duterte barred her from attending Cabinet meetings. Robredo is a critic of several administration policies, like the bloody war against drugs and the hero's burial for the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, her election rival's father.
The past year also saw the LP's numbers dwindle, with national and local politicians jumping ship to the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). (READ: The fall of the 'dilawang' Liberal Party)
LP senators are now in the minority bloc after they were stripped of their leadership posts. LP lawmakers are divided in the House of Representatives, with 22 part of the majority and 5 in the independent minority bloc.(READ: Being 'dilawan' in the Duterte-controlled House)
LP members in the House vowed to fight for Robredo should the impeachment cases against her move forward. (READ: Why Leni Robredo can't be full-on opposition)
"Iyong ating pinagdaanan over the last elections, iyon din iyong pakiramdam ko. Hindi naman tayo natalo. Hindi naman tayo natalo kasi iyong laban natin, talagang laban na taas-noo nating ginawa," said the Vice President.
(I also felt what the party went through over the last elections. But we didn't lose. We didn't lose because we fought the good fight.)
Fight not over
In her speech on Thursday, Robredo told her party mates the "fight is not lost" and called on them to build on their shared value and dreams.
"Iyong shared aspirations natin, iyong shared values, iyong shared dreams, iyon iyong pag-uumpisahan natin. At iyon iyong magbibigay ng saysay dito, iyong common history din nating lahat. Iyon iyong magbibigay ng inspirasyon," she said.
(We should build on our aspirations, shared values and dreams. These will give meaning to our common history. That's where we'll draw inspiration from.)
The Vice President told the LP to remember the Filipino people as they rebuild the party.
"Iyong pinakadahilan kung bakit nandito ako, bakit nandito tayong lahat: sa paniniwala sa kabutihan ng Pilipino. Sa paniniwala na sa gitna ng maraming sakripisyo – sa gitna ng kadiliman, sa gitna ng maraming pagsubok – iyong pagmamahal sa bayan, iyon iyong magbibigay sa atin ng lakas," she said.
(That's the reason why I'm here, why all of us are here: the belief in the goodness of the Filipino. We must draw strength from the belief that despite the many sacrifices – in the midst of darkness and trials – love for country will prevail.) – Rappler.com