Philippine Vice President Leoni Robredo announced that she will run for President in May 2022, starting an uphill political struggle in a crowded field to succeed the current populist President Rodrigo Duterte, because she wants In the election, she was reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic to replicate her victory in 2016.
“I formally propose myself as a candidate for the 2022 presidential election. I will participate in the battle. We will fight together,” Robredo said Thursday when he announced his candidacy for president in a speech in Tagalog.
“Everyone knows the challenges we face. We have seen lies and abuse. They have money and machines.”
Robredo’s candidacy is in Participated in the presidential campaign of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., The son of a Filipino strongman and a man of the same name, he was removed from office after a popular uprising in 1986. In the 2016 vice presidential campaign, Robredo defeated Marcos by a narrow margin.
Robredo, 56, has been Duterte’s vice president since he was sworn in in 2016. He called what he called a deadly drug war “failure”, Angered him.
In the Philippines, the president and vice president are elected separately, often resulting in candidates from rival parties such as Duterte and Robredo working together in the office, but often fierce conflicts over policies.
On Thursday, Rod Bredo tried to contrast with Duterte, declaring: “We will defeat ancient and decadent politics. We will return the power of change to ordinary Filipinos.”
last week, She was supported by a newly formed alliance As a result of infighting between Duterte’s loyal supporters and candidates who support Senator Manny Pacquiao (and also a boxing legend who is also seeking the presidency), the ruling party machine began to crack.
When supporting Robredo, the coalition stated that she has the “integrity, ability and track record” to lead the country, which is facing a historic economic recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused at least 38,000 people died. the Philippines.
When her support was announced last Thursday, the vice president asked for more time to consider her decision. In recent months and weeks, she has been trying to persuade different political groups and people to support an opposition candidate. But she was cast aside by her potential opponents.
Jason Gonzalez, the former mayor and current provincial assemblyman from the central Philippines, is among those who support Robredo. He told Al Jazeera that despite the political dominance of Duterte and his allies in the past few years, Robredo is the only candidate who has always adhered to her principles.
Gonzalez added that Robredo has been a vice president since 2016, and his understanding of what a leader should be is “broad and deep”.
“If we are talking about the qualities needed to govern, I think she has it all,” Gonzalez said.
In addition to Robredo and Pacquiao, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Mayor of Manila Isco Moreno And former police chief and current senator Panfilo Lakson.
With the exception of Robredo, all other announced presidential candidates have been associated with Duterte in the past, so she became a nominal opposition candidate.
Her supporters argued that she was the “real opponent” of the upcoming game. But in a country where politics is more driven by personality and political connections than policy and ideology, claiming to represent the opposition can be tricky.
Vaguely visible in the game is Duterte himself, who is expected to serve as vice president before last weekend.Instead, he said he was Withdraw from politics.
This may pave the way for his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, the mayor of Davao City, to be late for the race. Although her numbers have declined in the latest survey released in September, she has been leading the survey in hypothetical presidential elections.
The deadline for submitting candidatures is Friday, October 8.
However, the announced candidate can still withdraw and be replaced by another candidate before November 15.
Duterte Carpio is still shy about whether she will really run.
On Saturday, she submitted documents to run for re-election as mayor of Davao City, which is Duterte’s political stronghold. At the same time, in recent weeks, her supporters have disregarded the election ban and posted huge banners with her image across the country.
In suspense, Robredo greatly strengthened the Duterte administration’s “lack of focus and leadership” in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is becoming a key issue among the country’s more than 64 million registered voters.
She also called the alleged misuse of millions of dollars worth of public funds to purchase medical equipment “unforgivable.”
“How do these people sleep at night? There are a lot of Filipinos suffering. However, all they can think of is extortion,” she asked in a radio interview, referring to the defendant who had connections with the president.
Long way ahead
But Robredo’s path to president may not be easy.
The latest survey conducted by the Pulse Asia poll shows that Duterte Carpio is leading and Robredo is behind five potential presidential candidates. However, compared with the results of the July poll, her approval ratings in Metro Manila and Central Visayas have doubled.
In 2016, when Robredo, still unknown, was selected as the vice presidential running mate of the previous government’s flag bearer, her poll was also in single digits, far lagging behind several other competitors.
The last column I wrote for Inquirer. In the success or failure elections of 2022, Vice President Leni Robredo is the only national leader who can credibly represent the real opposition and the larger constituency: those who want the government to work and… https://t.co/QM225BSO89
— John Neri (@jnery_newsstand) October 4, 2021
But Robredo eventually defeated a popular and well-funded Senator Marcos.
“Lenny is a new kid in this neighborhood. People have a lot of curiosity about her. People who saw her for the first time wanted to vote for her. Of course, she worked very hard. To her credit, she became famous in one fell swoop. “Fe Zamora, a senior journalist covering politics and military affairs, told Al Jazeera.
The difference this time is that she ran as an opposition candidate who suffered a tragic defeat in the 2019 midterm elections. That year, all 12 opposition senator candidates were defeated by Duterte’s allies. She is also the current vice president and has been in the public eye for more than five years.
Her hostility towards Duterte’s many policies made Robredo the target of ruthless political and personal attacks on social media by the president’s allies, which undermined her reputation.
The legitimacy of her victory was also questioned by Marcos, who lost by a narrow margin of over 260,000 votes. The case went to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court rejected Marcos’s complaint, but Robredo was politically hurt by the protracted legal battle.
“Marcos and [Duterte] Since 2016, the refugee camp has been demonizing her to prevent Robredo’s political base from expanding,” Zamora said.
But Anna Blanco, a certified public accountant and leader of a group of professionals who support Robredo, said that once the campaign begins, the vice president’s past record can help her overcome the voting deficit.
Blanco from Mindanao told Al Jazeera: “From what we have seen, her performance and what she has done in the past five years, she has the ability and character to become the legitimate next president.”
“She grew up in the office”
As a relatively novice politician, Lobredo ran for public office for the first time after the death of his husband who was the Minister of the Interior in 2012.
Robredo has only served as a member of the House of Representatives for one term and was considered an unknown before she was elected to the vice presidential campaign in 2016. The candidate for the top position in her party lost to Duterte.
As Vice President, Robredo briefly served as the head of the government’s housing and development agency, but was forced to resign after Duterte’s cabinet excluded her from the meeting.
In 2019, after Duterte repeatedly criticized Duterte’s criticism of his bloody suppression, she also served on the government’s anti-drug committee. He fired her only 18 days later.
Duterte’s deadly war on drugs is now ICC investigation object.
Robredo has said that the war on drugs has violated the human rights of many poor suspects while failing to hunt down large suppliers.
Due to her criticism, Duterte’s allies in Congress cut her office’s budget, limiting her financial resources.
But this did not stop her from raising funds for her project, said Jez Lorenzo, who is the convener of the campaign to support Robredo’s candidacy.
Lorenzo said that the Vice President’s Office raised as much as $2 million last year to help families affected by the pandemic.
“This tells me that she is a leader worthy of the people’s trust. This is a leader who will guide the trust given to her into the crisis at hand,” he told Al Jazeera.