by DAWN DANIELLE SOLANO and MATTHEW DAVE JUCOM
SEVERAL ARTLET faculty members have expressed support for the candidacy of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo for president due to what they described as her “decent” and “unsoiled” political track record for the past six years.
Among the 641 Thomasian educators who have publicly endorsed Robredo through the Facebook page Thomasians for Leni, 65 are from the Faculty of Arts and Letters. In a statement, the faculty members claimed the vice president has “demonstrated exemplary servant leadership” through her advocacies.
Communication instructor Tito Quiling, Jr. said Robredo’s effort to prioritize the people’s immediate needs became the “deciding point” for him to support her candidacy.
“It was a difficult time for us, but having one of the national leaders who were not proactive in silencing the media, did not prioritize the anti-terror law, for me, those were the deciding points,” Quiling told The Flame in an online interview.
History Asst. Prof. Analiza Yanga said Robredo has demonstrated integrity and that her leadership and volunteerism “had a great effect on her leadership as vice president.”
“We all know in politics that the vice president will substitute in case the president encounters misfortune along the way. But for her, she really did what she needed to do. Then there is the COA (Commission on Audit) report where she received a high trust rating, which proves that she is not corrupt,” Yanga said, referring to the rating given to agencies that can provide a fair presentation of their financial statements.
Sociology Asst. Prof. Frederick Rey said he supports Robredo because she embodies the virtues “the nation aspires for.”
“I am not really supporting Robredo as a person. I am supporting her based on the ideals and values that she embodies—the value of life and human dignity, the value of human rights, and democracy,” Rey said.
While various sectors have endorsed Robredo, she is still in far second place to former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in recent surveys.
A Social Weather Stations poll conducted from Jan. 28 to 31 found 50 percent of respondents preferring Marcos, the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Only 19 percent of the respondents picked Robredo while Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and Sen. Manny Pacquiao were tied at third place with 11 percent. Sen. Panfilo Lacson and labor leader Leody De Guzman were preferred by six percent and 0.3 percent of the respondents, respectively.
During the vice presidential debate held in 2016, Robredo said she would not run for president. Her tone changed last September when she said she would seek the highest elective post if she is chosen as a standard-bearer and if the younger Marcos runs for president.
‘Antithesis’ of Marcos Jr.
Rey claimed Robredo is the “antithesis” of Marcos Jr., describing other presidential aspirants as “middle ranged” politicians who are ready to compromise.
Quiling echoed this, saying Robredo’s decision somehow reflected how her supporters perceive the Marcoses.
The vice president’s supporters, he added, are combating what he called a “frightful reality for some of us.”
While some hailed Robredo’s decision to run as an independent candidate, critics questioned her move to distance herself from the Liberal Party, the ruling political group during the previous administration. Robredo is the chairperson of the once-dominant party.
Asked to react to Robredo’s relationship with the Liberal Party, Quiling said most Filipinos’ understanding of politics is still “partisan-based.” Supporters, Quiling added, should not be “blind followers” and instead measure a candidate based on his or her merits. He admitted though that removing this kind of collective thinking is an “uphill battle,”
Rey, a member of the Liberal Party, said his decision to support Robredo is founded on the “certainty” of the vice president’s plan for the nation’s well-being.
“I do not choose a candidate based on how good of a dancer the person is, based on how handsome he is, or based on their names—dynastic advantage, for example—but because of the ideology he or she embodies,” Rey said.
Yanga said the decision of Robredo to run independently showed that she is far from being a ‘traditional politician.”
“She (Robredo) parted ways and became independent to show that she won’t have to be attached to this particular political party,” she said.
This year’s elections will be held on May 9. F