Robredo Faces Critic for Interview on Marcos, Ukraine, 'Street Fighter' Memes

Twitter is talking about her answers to Prof. Antonio Contreras.
Photo/s: Leni Robredo/Facebook

Vice President Leni Robredo late on Wednesday faced a panel interview by The Manila Times and DZRH, answering questions that tested the presidential candidate's smarts on anything from geopolitics to chief rival Bongbong Marcos.

Robredo addressed Manila Times columnist Antonio Contreras as "Prof" during the interview. At one point, the retired De La Salle University professor of political science asked her if the Philippines would side with Ukraine or Russia should tensions escalate.

"Ang pinakauna kong gagawin, sisiguraduhin kong ma-secure 'yung 342 na mga Pilipinong nandoon," Robredo said. The response went viral and until Thursday morning, #MadamPresident and Contreras were trending on Twitter.

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Contreras also asked Robredo to address supporters who won't heed her call for "radical love" and keep calm when engaging with supporters or her rivals. The Vice President noted how hate is spread anonymously on social media.

"Kahit nasasaktan tayo, kahit nasa receiving end tayo ng masasama, huwag na tayong mag-contribute ng kasamaan. Mahirap siya dahil 'yung tendency na maging defensive, 'yung tendency na ipapakita mo na ikaw 'yung tama, parang 'yun na ang naging kultura natin. Source siya ng frustration pero at the same time naiintindihan ko bakit nangyayari ito."

Robredo defended making a meme out of herself by posing as a "Street Fighter" video game character and flashing Korean heart poses, which Contreras said displeased some of her supporters. She said it's her way of thanking those who support her campaign.

"Totoo na marami kaming supporters na displeased about it pero sa akin kasi pagpapakita 'yun ng appreciation sa mga kababayan natin, na nagustuhan ko 'yung binigay nila at pinapahalagahan ko," she said.

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"Alam ko na when I did it, alam ko na may mga hindi matutuwa pero sa akin, small price to pay siya doon sa joy na mabibigay ko doon sa nagre-request na grabe 'yung sinasakripisyo para lang makatulong sa amin."

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Contreras challenged Robredo to mention a "selling point" of her rival, Marcos Jr.: "Si Bongbong Marcos po kunwari ay kokontratahin kayo, hindi ka puwede tumanggi, bawal. Ano 'yung magiging selling point n'yo sa kanya?"

To which Robredo said: "'Pinakamahirap yata 'yun na sagot... na matagal na siya sa pulitika?"

Asked by radio anchor Gerry Baja is she was willing to reconcile with Marcos Jr., Robredo said it should be within the context of justice, given the Marcos family's martial law record, which they are projecting as a non-issue in the elections.

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"Bansa natin ang nakataya 'pag basta lang natin tinanggap 'yung ganun, dahil lang sa unification, ano 'yung mensaheng binibigay natin sa tao? Na okay lang 'yung lahat ng abuses na nagawa in the past, na okay lang 'yung corruption? Na okay lang na convicted ka of a crime na hindi mo pa napapanagutan? Sa akin klaro na ang pinakamahalaga dito, taumbayan," she said.

"Mahirap masabi na nilalabanan natin ang korapsyon pero 'di naman natin it pinapakita sa ating gawa," Robredo said. Marcos is facing disqualification cases at the Comelec for his failure to file tax returns for four straight years during his stint as Ilocos Norte governor.

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Robredo was also asked who among past and present women leaders she looks up to, with Cory Aquino cited as one of the examples. She answered former German chancellor Angela Merkel and prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.

She said of Merkel, who served for 16 years as leader of Germany: "Hinahangaan ko kasi kung ito ngang napakalaking leader, naging posible na 'yung kanyang private life ay hindi na-spoil ng kanyang power, puwede din dito sa atin."

She lauded Ardern for her pandemic response and for her excellent communication skills.

"Meron siya na wala ako, at 'yun 'yung husay n'ya mag-communicate na nakaka-appease siya ng anxieties ng kanyang constituents, na 'yung ability na parang mag-shift sa difficult moments pero nagagawa n'ya na ang dating ay magaan pa rin kahit nagdadaan sila sa napakatinding difficulties."

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