Robredo runs for president, files COC as independent

Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday filed her certificate of candidacy to run for president as an independent candidate in the 2022 elections as she accepted the endorsement of the opposition coalition 1Sambayan to be its standard bearer.

Vice President Leni Robredo signs the Integrity Pledge after filing her candidacy to join the 2022 presidential race at the Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent in Pasay City on October 7, 2021. AFP

“I will fight, we will fight. I am offering myself as the presidential candidate in the 2022 elections,” she said. “We will defeat the old and rotten system of politics.”

Robredo slammed the Duterte administration in her speech, saying a lack of leadership has exacerbated the country’s problems.

“We need to liberate ourselves from the present situation,” Robredo said. “If we really want to free ourselves in this kind of situation, we do not only need to change the names of those in power, but also the corruption and incompetence, the lack of concern. We need competent and good governance,” she said.

Robredo’s filing of her COC was quickly followed by unconfirmed reports that Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party, would be her running mate.

Robredo has been under pressure from supporters and opposition groups to join the 2022 presidential race, but she has been well behind the front runners in opinion polls.

Her decision comes after former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. filed his COC for the presidency.

Robredo narrowly defeated Marcos for the nation’s second-highest office in 2016.

Marcos was in second place behind Duterte’s daughter, Sara, in a recent Pulse Asia Research poll, though she has denied plans to run.

Robredo was a distant sixth, trailing boxing champion Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, who have confirmed they will seek the presidency; and Senator Grace Poe, who has not.

Robredo, who has three daughters, served a single term in the House of Representatives before her successful bid for the vice presidency.

“My promise is to give all my strength, not only until the election but until the very end to fight for the Philippines that we dream of,” Robredo said Thursday.

“It is going to be an uphill climb but her running sends a strong statement in itself that there is a genuine opposition to Duterte and the return of another Marcos to the presidency,” said University of the Philippines political science professor Jean Franco.

Pangilinan said the party was fully behind Robredo.

“Leni said we should join together in this fight. Let us all stand because the fight of Leni is my fight, and our fight,” Pangilinan said.

Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III, said they agreed they would rise on their own merits and would not comment on their political rivals for 2022.

“We will focus only on presenting ourselves and our competencies to the electorate in an effort to get elected based on our own strengths, and not on the deficiencies of the others,” said Lacson, who had been in unsuccessful unity talks with Robredo.

“We will raise the level of discourse of the campaign and deal with issues rather than personalities,” Lacson said. “We intend to keep it that way, even as we encourage our supporters to follow our lead.”

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who earlier said he would run for President if Robredo did not, welcomed her decision to lead “the real opposition.”

He guaranteed her his Magdalo party’s full support.

Senator Leila de Lima said Robredo’s decision to run put an end to speculation that the opposition could not field a strong candidate for the country’s highest elective position.

“It has to be Leni. It can only be Leni,” said De Lima, who is seeking re-election.

Akbayan, a Liberal Party ally, welcomed Robredo’s decision to run as well.

“VP Leni’s announcement is a game-changer,” Akbayan said in a statement.

“We now have a real democratic alternative who can stop the continuation of tyranny, win the fight against the pandemic and economic recession, and lead us back safely to the path of democracy.”

Marcos said Robredo’s run was expected.

The former senator said having more presidential candidates would be “good for a healthy democracy.”

“It is better for our people to have more candidates to choose from,” he said in Filipino. With AFP

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