Why Robredo Remains Undecided on 2022 and What She Thinks of Surveys

Filing of candidacies is two months away.
Photo/s: Noel Celis, Agence France-Presse

For Vice President Leni Robredo, "too much is at stake in 2022" for her to just decide on running for the presidency given her "low" survey numbers that suggest how she could fare in the elections.

The leader of the opposition said that while she always expressed her openness to the idea of running, it's important to look and study what the numbers are saying. 

"Even before 2022, I have been trying to, in whatever capacity I am in, the best that I can to help, to make lives easier for Filipinos who are having difficult times.. 'Yung sa'kin right now, I'll be very honest, i've always said I'm open to running for the presidency pero pinagaaralan ko rin how viable my run will be," she told hosts Jim Bacarro and Saab Magalona in the latest episode of Wake Up with Jim and Saab podcast. 

Trailing Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in the June 7 to 16 Pulse Asia survey, Robredo said should the numbers stay that low, "hindi viable yung pag run."

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The goal for 2022 is to have the "broadest possible unity" that can effectively counter the candidate whom President Rodrigo Duterte would support, she said.

"Ang iniisip ko kasi, Jim and Saab, too much is at stake in 2022. Yung type of governance we're having now, I don't think we can last another six years under this type of governance. Kahit siguro i'm very much aware of how much people, lalo na my supporters feel about it, pero sakin, pinag-aaralan ko," she added.

Although her 6% survey rate is better a number than the 1% she gambled on in 2016, when she decided to run for the vice presidency, Robredo said the situation now is very different. 

"I started as 1%.. My awareness level was very low, [so I figured] kapag nagsipag ako pumunta ako sa tao at magpakilala, chances are dadagdag yung 1% ko. And that was exactly what happened. Pero ngayon kasi yung awareness level ko 100% eh.. pero ang baba ko sa surveys," she said.

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"So sa'kin, 'yun yung tinitignan ko. If my numbers improve, kung may fighting chance, why not?"


The goal is to unify

In the past months, Robredo said she had talked to at least five other possible candidates who appeared with her in the surveys, trying to explore if their common stances on issues "are enough" to build a unified ticket. Most recently, she declined Sen. Panfilo Lacson's unification formula, which would call for candidates to yield to the one who ranks high in surveys.

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This prompted Lacson, who has declared his intention to run as president, that Robredo is "definitely" open to running. 

"Ang proposal kasi ito: kaming mga nag-uusap-usap, magfa-file kaming lahat ng certificate of candidacy tapos mag-agree kami ng certain time before the elections na titignan namin kung sino yung pinakamalakas sa surveys, yun yung susuportahan namin tapos all the rest magwi-withdraw," Robredo explained during her weekly radio program.

Robredo said she was not agreeable to such a proposal because she didn't want to withdraw in the middle of the game, when her supporters had already pinned their hopes on her.

"Kapag nag-file ako, kailangan kong ituloy ang laban. Kapag nag-file ako, hindi ako pwedeng umatras kahit gaano pa kahirap kasi prinesenta ko na yung sarili ko sa publiko," she said.

Despite the challenges that come with building a unified opposition, Robredo said she hasn't lost hope yet, considering how more people are getting "more vocal" compared to before. 

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"It's not as fortified as I would have wanted it to be but we're in a better place now compared to 2019 or 2018. Kasi parang na-shock and awe kasi, pagpasok ng bagong administrasyon, parang may shock and awe factor na a lot of those in the opposition either jumped fence or decided to just be quiet," she said.

"Pero ngayon napapansin ko, people are getting more vocal. People are more willing to sit down and talk unlike before. Sa akin, hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa na kahit 2022 is just around the corner, there is hope that people will be more courageous. More people will take a stand. And more people will be willing to sit down and talk, and explore how to unify for the country," she added.

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