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Leni’s Camp Clarifies No Final Decision Yet, But 1Sambayan Convenor, Drilon Confident VP Will Run For President

Leni’s Camp Clarifies No Final Decision Yet, But 1Sambayan Convenor, Drilon Confident VP Will Run For President
Vice President Leni Robredo

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo clarified on Sunday, Oct. 3, that she has not made a final decision on whether to seek the country’s highest post next year.

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesman, said  over radio station dzXL that the Vice President will announce her decision in the coming days.

Gutierrez appealed to Robredo’s supporters to wait for a few more days as she already promised that she will make a decision before the deadline of filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on Oct. 8. He noted that the excitement of Robredo’s supporters was understandable.

Naiintindihan naman namin. Malinaw naman na marami ng excited, ‘di ba. Marami nang nag-aabang… So kaunting hintay na lang,” Gutierrez said.

Sabi naman ni VP, Oct. 8 ang huling araw ng filing at bago mag-Oct. 8, ipaalam na niya ang kaniyang desisyon. So hindi na matagal,” he added.

1Sambayan co-convenor Brother Armin Luistro, for his part, said the coalition is “100% confident” that Robredo will accept their nomination to run for president next year.

In an interview, Luistro clarified The Philippine STAR's report that came out on Sunday quoting him that Robredo has accepted 1Sambayan’s nomination.

Luistro said while Robredo has not accepted the nomination categorically, there was no indication that she was rejecting the offer either.

“From the point of view of 1Sambayan, there is no doubt she is the best president we could field for 2022,” Luistro stressed.

“In both public and private meetings with her, we have not asked her categorically, but all indications are we are 100% confident she will take on the challenge,” Luistro said.

Robredo is just taking time to announce her bid, Luistro noted, but her decision will definitely be made before the end of the filing of COC on Oct. 8.

“The deadline is Oct. 8. Just like in courtship, we were not yet rejected. The doors are not yet closed on our faces. If she had other plans, she would have said so,” Luistro said, adding that 1Sambayan was so sure Robredo would accept the nomination that they have no “Plan B or C.”

Luistro quoted the Vice President as saying that whatever her decision will be, it will be “what is best for the nation.” 

The Vice President also no longer feels pressured by supporters egging her to run.

“I think she has grown out of this fear or pressure from people. She is very open to running, that I can say from her actions and her words. I don’t think she’s even worried about the numbers anymore. I don’t think she’s afraid of taking on the responsibility,” Luistro said.

Luistro also quoted the Vice President as saying that she would embrace the challenge as a mission from God.  “If this is the mission for her (from God), and I heard it from her own lips, ‘I would embrace it,’” Luistro noted.

The former education secretary disclosed he received messages of support even from people he does not know following the social media buzz The STAR’s report generated.

“Maybe the right word (of the headline) is ‘acknowledged’ (not accepted),” Luistro said of the report. “But it remains as true. What will make it untrue is if the vice president said I’m not going to run, which she has not said.”

Even her transfer of voter’s registration from Naga City to Magarao, Camarines Sur does not indicate she will run for a local post because she has not fulfilled the required one-year residency to qualify as gubernatorial candidate, Luistro said.

When asked about criticisms that Robredo was being too indecisive about the presidential bid, Luistro emphasized Robredo is not the traditional politician.

“When she is deciding on something, there is no turning back. That’s what differentiates her from other politicians. A woman’s word is better than a gentleman’s promise. That’s the kind of leadership we need,” Luistro said.

Luistro also welcomed the positive feedback the report about Robredo accepting the nomination generated on social media as it showed the growing support for Robredo’s presidential bid.

“People latched on (to that report). They are just excited… It’s a joyful anticipation,” Luistro said.

“I was told by one to make a disclaimer. There is nothing to disclaim, they (STAR) published what I said. The joyful anticipation is there up to now, what is there to disclaim?” he added.

He told supporters not to lose hope when asked if he had disappointed them.

“They’ve been waiting for so long. I am sure they are willing to wait for just a few more days,” Luistro said.

“But all indications, both formal and backchannel, and even when you look at social media posts, we see that she is serious about it, she is not afraid to run, and neither is she afraid to put forth herself as president,” he added.

Luistro also clarified reports quoting him that Robredo will file her candidacy on Oct. 5 or the date she supposedly filed her candidacy for vice president.

Oct. 5, 2015 was actually the date the Liberal Party proclaimed Robredo as the vice president candidate of then standard-bearer Mar Roxas.

“It seems like an important date for her. But the ‘when’ is not important anymore. The date was just a casual conversation, I was quoting somebody who posted that on social media, I’m not even sure,” Luistro said.

“Get back to me on Oct. 8. We will be celebrating,” Luistro said.

Drilon also confident

Vice President Leni Robredo will make her bid for the presidency before the Oct. 8 deadline of the filing of COCs, LP stalwart and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon predicted. The filing of the COCs started on Friday, Oct. 1.

Drilon, who was earlier rumored to be Robredo’s running mate should she seek the presidency, said he “personally believes that Vice President Leni will not turn her back on her obligation” to the country.

“I think she will run. She will not run away from the challenge,” Drilon told dzMM Teleradyo on Saturday, Oct. 2,  in Filipino.

“She notices many things that should be done (by the Duterte administration) but are not being done so my personal opinion is that she will run,” he said.

The Vice President has yet to decide as she said she wanted to forge a united opposition that will face the Duterte-backed presidential candidate next year.

He said he joins 1Sambayan and the Filipino people in hoping that Robredo will throw her hat in the presidential ring.
“She is the most qualified to lead the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her office’s accomplishment speaks volumes of how much she can and is willing to do to help our countrymen in need,” Drilon said.

‘No agreement’

Drilon’s belief that Robredo will run was apparently connected to a last-ditch attempt by the Vice President to come up with a unity standard bearer to face the administration presidential candidate.

He said no agreement was reached in the meeting between Robredo, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and himself late last week. Lacson is running for president under Reporma party with Sotto ¬– of the Nationalist People’s Coalition – as his running mate.

Drilon added that since no agreement was reached during the meeting, and he no longer expects anymore to take place in the near future.

He said he would help run Robredo’s campaign.