What sets Leni apart from Chiz, Bongbong? No presidential dreams
PAMPANGA, Philippines – She's never topped opinion polls for the vice presidency, but Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo seems unfazed by her rivals' lead and even pointed out at least two things that set her apart from front runners Senator Francis Escudero and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
"Marami (A lot)," quipped Robredo when asked by reporters what sets her apart from the two senators whom she considers her primary rivals for the country's second-highest elective position.
"Unang-una, ako lang ang may mahabang karanasan sa pakikipagtrabaho sa mga mahihirap. All of their lives pulitiko na talaga, 'yun na ang kanilang mundo, ako ngayon lang ako pumasok sa pulitika. Palagay ko mahalaga iyon, pagbibigay ng lalim sa pagkaintindi ng kahirapan na pinagdadaanan. Kasi yung pagkaintinding 'yun ay hindi 'yung pagkaintindi na pinag-aralan," said Robredo on the sidelines of a gathering of suporters in San Fernando City on Tuesday, March 22.
(I'm the only one with extensive experience in working with the poor. All of their lives, they've been politicians, that's the world they've lived in. I'm new in politics. I think that's important because it gives depth to your understanding of what the poor are going through. It's an understanding that goes beyond what you can just study.)
The second thing that sets them apart? Ambition.
"Pangalawa, ako siguro 'yung walang ambisyon na tumaas pa. Hindi ko gagamitin sa pulitika ang posisyon," she added.
(Second is that I have no ambition of seeking a higher post. I won't use the position for politics.)
Escudero was said to be eyeing the presidency as early as 2010 while Marcos has made no secret of his family's wish for him to seek a Malacañang post.
Robredo is third in the latest Pulse Asia Research survey commissioned by ABS-CBN. The neophyte legislator got 20% in a survey conducted from March 8 to 13, trailing behind Marcos' 25% and Escudero's 24%.
Robredo said she remained hopeful, despite ranking 3rd with less than two months to go before election day.
"We exceeded target because when we started, 43 [percentage] points down kami," she told reporters.
Prior to announcing her candidacy, Robredo registered a measly 1% to 4% in early opinion polls. Both Escudero and Marcos, who both belong to prominent political families, have been active in politics since the 80s.
How does she intend to close the gap between herself and her rivals? Hard work.
"'Di na yata ako nagpapahinga. Very realistic naman ako pagpasok ko rito. Alam ko lahat ng limitasyon, by many miles nauna na sila, kaya sinisipagan ko," she said.
(I don't think I've been able to rest because I was very realistic coming into this election. I know my limitations, my rivals are ahead of me by miles so I make sure I work hard.)
The Camarines Sur representative has barely taken a day off since the campaign period began. When she's unable to attend rallies or events herself, she sends one of her 3 daughters or a relative to serve as her proxy.
Robredo said she plans on concentrating in Luzon, noting that she's already made the rounds in many parts of Visayas and Mindanao. Data from her campaign team indicate that Robredo enjoys a very high conversion rate, meaning she's able to convince voters to choose her as soon as they are made aware of her candidacy.
Prior to entering the Senate, Escudero represented his home province Sorsogon in Congress.
Marcos, meanwhile, is the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. He began his political career as vice governor of Ilocos Norte in 1980.
Robredo is the wife of the late interior secretary Jesse Robredo, who was also mayor of Naga City for over two decades. When her husband was still alive, Robredo kept a fairly low profile, serving first as a public lawyer and later, as a lawyer in a non-governmental organization that helped farmers, indigenous groups, and women.
She was thrust into politics only after her husband died. Infighting between allies of the late Jesse Robredo prompted Robredo to run for Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative, a post she only planned to stay on for 3 years. – Rappler.com
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