MANILA, Philippines — “Do I look tired? Do I look scared? Do I look worried?” Vice President Leni Robredo said in Filipino in a short recorded message released on Friday.
She issued the message to answer both critics and supporters who had been speculating about the reason for her seeming reluctance to commit to running for the presidency in the 2022 elections.
“Earlier, outside the office, I saw the posters and ribbons put up by my supporters. Thank you very much. I hear you. I see what you see. And I sympathize with your frustrations, along with your hopes, for our country,” she said.
“I’ve been hearing what some are saying. That I’m already tired. That I’m afraid of losing. That I’m worried that I’m an underdog in terms of resources and machinery. That maybe I cannot manage the campaign. I’m asking you now: Do I look tired? Do I look scared? Do I look worried?” she said.
Then she gave her supporters some words of assurance.
“Have trust. When it comes to the issue of elections, there’s only one thing in my mind: To make sure to end the kind of leadership that has been at the root of all our suffering, hardships, and the death of so many among us,” she said.
“And it’s my duty to exhaust all means that can be exhausted in pursuit of this goal. We need to talk with everyone with whom we need to talk, to reflect and pray deeply, and to exhaust all the possible avenues to present the best chances for better governance come 2022,” she said.
Robredo has been under pressure by a lot of her supporters and allies to release her decision for the 2022 elections as soon as possible, as other candidates whom she had been talking to had already made their moves.
“I’m aware of the deadline. Time is running. In the end, what has to happen will happen,” she said.
Previously, the vice president tried to form an alliance with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. But then they all announced that they would be running for president.
In earlier statements, Robredo said there were two primary goals for the 2022 polls: Prevent the Marcoses from returning to Malacañang and preventing another administration like President Rodrigo Duterte’s.
She also said the Philippines could not stand six more years of a Duterte-style administration — implying that the upcoming 2022 presidential elections should not be about whether she would want to be president but more about what should be done to prevent a similar rule.
Then last Sept. 19, Robredo said she would prefer to have a one-on-one contest for the presidency against former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos — although there were other factors that should be considered.
Robredo said that came after Marcos — who lost to her in the 2016 vice presidential race — said he was confident he would defeat her in the May 2022 elections.
Meanwhile, calls for her to run for president have been mounting on social media.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, among others, has also suggested that she resume discussions to form a single opposition force with Pacquiao and Moreno.
More recently, Robredo hinted that she would willingly accept all the backlash if she should decide to opt out of the presidential race — if that would be the best scenario for the country.
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