Robredo says people hungry for change sparked a pink wave
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo refuses to take credit for the massive change that has occurred on the ground for her presidential campaign.
She believes she is just a symbol of the power of ordinary Filipinos eager for change after six years under President Rodrigo Duterte, said the only presidential candidate to Rappler CEO and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa in #WeDecide: First 100 Days, an interview series with Rappler airing Wednesday, April 20.
“I don’t want to take credit for it. Sa tingin ko naging symbol lang ako…. Parang, the time had come,” said Robredo, who came to Rappler’s office in a crisp blazer in her signature pink color.
(I don’t want to take credit for it. I think I just became the symbol… It feels like the time has come.)
“It could have been anyone else, ‘yun lang ‘yung tingin ko. Na’yung tao, handa na siya. ‘Yung tao, parang…matagal na siyang nagkimkim’, she added.
(It could have been anyone else, that’s what I think. People are ready now. It’s like people are full of pent up emotions.)
Robredo is the face of the opposition resisting the abusive policies of tough guy Duterte. While the gap between the numbers is still huge, major pre-election polls also point to Robredo as the candidate with the best chance of defeating poll favorite, the late dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
And for that, she has become the primary target of the Duterte and Marcos disinformation networks who have spent the past six years discrediting her.
The vice-president, however, draws her strength from her supporters. She even compared their energy to that of the Filipinos who joined EDSA in February 1986 in a collective effort to overthrow dictator Ferdinand Marcos through a bloodless revolution.
Slowly but surely, Robredo catches up with the dictator’s son. Even known allies of Duterte began supporting her. His rivals’ crucial machinery also jumped ship for Robredo.
Her momentum gains enough traction that her other male rivals gang up on her at a joint press conference amid more intensified black propaganda efforts against her family.
“It’s not the kind of ordinary energy you see in a lot of the exercises we did in the past. Pero (But) is that the kind of energy that was like in 1986? Robredo told Ressa. “They are eager to be part of the change that is happening.”
These days, seeing tens of thousands of Robredo supporters raising their fists in the air, flashing the “L” sign and cheering his name into the night has become the mainstay of his large rallies across the provinces.
His daughters Aika, Tricia and Jillian join many of their famous volunteers and supporters in knocking on people’s doors in different villages, in an effort to convince more voters to choose Robredo on election day.
It’s hard work, and even the Robredo girls get heckled as they go from house to house. But they continue, because the stakes are much higher in 2022.
The biggest challenge Robredo faces in this election are the lies peddled online by the Marcoses, their vaunted money and machinery devoting years to building up their misinformation infrastructure.
As vice president, Robredo drew praise for running effective anti-poverty and pandemic programs despite his meager budget. Of the 10 presidential candidates, Robredo was the first to publish a comprehensive pandemic response and job recovery platform. But a significant portion of Filipinos believe she only criticized the Duterte administration.
The vilest claims have been thrown at her by trolls and propagandists – whether it’s allegedly having an affair with multiple men or accusations that she works with communist rebels.
Robredo regrets not acting soon enough to rally Filipinos to push back against the Marcos lies. She initially thought she was alone in this fight, not immediately realizing how disinformation would influence the run-up to the 2022 election. It’s one of the reasons she was so reluctant to run for office. the Presidency.
“When I started my tenure, I was too naive about the power of social media or how powerful it is, n / A (that) I haven’t done enough…to push this stuff away,” Robredo said.
There’s a part of Robredo that resents how highly questioned Marcos Jr. was in voter preference polls.
“” Yung’s frustration actually stemmed from blaming myself, and that only increases the frustrations you feel (The frustration is actually about blaming me as well, and that only increases the frustrations you feel),” she said.
But she is grateful that more and more Filipinos are pushing back against the lies. However, she wishes it would happen sooner.
“Kasi ang feeling ko, kakaunti lang kami na consenting na sumangga. Pero parang bigla – and Hindi ko alam kung bigla ba ‘to or Hindi ko lang napansin na nangyayari na siya – pero nakita ko na siya parang early March…. Grabe na’ yung push back on social media,” said Robredo.
(I then had the feeling that there were only a few of us ready to push back. But suddenly – and I don’t know if it happened all of a sudden or if I didn’t I just didn’t notice it was happening yet – but I did see it happening in early March… There’s now a strong reaction on social media.)
The biggest challenge facing the Robredo administration
The nation is now more polarized than ever, with Marcos and Robredo supporters going at each other’s throats on news feeds and comment sections.
Yet Robredo herself has repeatedly called for “radical love,” for her supporters to be sober on the campaign trail and listen carefully to those who don’t necessarily see her as presidential material.
Be humble and be open, she has told her followers in the past, because their ultimate goal is to convert doubters.
And if Robredo becomes the next Philippine president, she is committed to being a leader who listens and involves even the most marginalized sectors in all her policies.
It is the first of many steps that must be taken if Robredo is to bring about the change she promises, change rooted in honest government that knows no sacred cows.
“Halimbawa manalo ako. Hindi naman ‘yan maso-solve ‘yung natin eh problems. “The administration’s biggest challenge is how to keep people involved, how to make them feel part of the solution, how to make them take ownership of the problems that beset the nation.” said Robredo. “Kasi without it, we will fail again.”
(Let’s say, for example, I win. That wouldn’t solve our problems. The biggest challenge facing my administration is how to keep people involved, how to make them feel part of the solution, how to make them take ownership the problems that beset the nation, for without it we will fail again.) – Rappler.com