Presidential candidate Leni Robredo on Saturday said brave and strong leadership has no gender, answering criticism that her motherly approach to governance is weak.
The Vice President said she showed courage in the face of the many trials in her life, including her husband's death in a 2012 plane crash and redefining the functions of her office after she was ostracized from the cabinet.
"Kung ang kamay na bakal [ay] pagpapakita ng katapangan, in my many stages of my being a VP, pinakita ko ito," Robredo told GMA News' Jessica Soho.
"Kung katapangan lang naman yung pag uusapan, Jessica, in many stages of my life, pinakita ko ito. Nawalan ako ng asawa lumaban ako. Nung kumandidato ako bilang congresswoman, kalaban ko isa sa pinkamatinding political dynasties sa lugar namin pero lumaban ako. Nu’ng lumaban ako bilang vice president baguhan ako. Kalaban ko senador na nakaupo lahat lalake ako lang babae, pero nagtagumpay ako," she said.
"So kung katapangan lang naman hindi ito nakikita sa gender. Nakikita ito sa kung paano ka nagdedesisyon sa maraming aspekto ng iyong buhay," she added.
Robredo said she sought to flip her critics' use of "lugaw" rice porridge as an insult into a symbol of the grassroots support that catapulted her to office in 2016.
The vice president had long been insulted "Leni Lugaw" based on the bowls of rice porridge that she gave to poor communities during the early years of her term. However, during the pandemic, she harnessed her background as a development worker to provide free COVID testing, care kits and vaccines to marginalized sectors.
"'Yung lugaw mas symbolic siya in the sense na kaya lang naman 'yun nadikit satin kasi nung 2016 kumakandidato ako, wala din akong resources. 'Yung mga volunteers namin ito yung mga ginawa nilang fundraising activities," she said.
"And yung mga volunteers ngayong 2022, 'yun din yung nassociate nila sa akin. So yung paraan nila para ipakita yung pakikiisa. 'Yun yung paraan nila para ipakita na kaisa niyo kami sa laban na 'to," she added.