MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has again parried questions on her future political plans, insisting that talking and thinking about the 2022 National Elections at a time of a crisis is a “sin.”
After being asked again if she would run for president during her visit to the Iloilo City Molecular Laboratory on Tuesday, Robredo told local reporters that she has no plans for 2022.
According to Robredo, she and her office remain committed to assisting the country in combating the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in Metro Manila and other areas experiencing a surge in new cases.
“Wala pa. Parang kasalanan isipin iyong eleksyon ngayon, dahil ang daming naghihirap, ang taas ng cases. Parang huwag muna. Marami pang puwedeng mangyari,” she said.
(None as of now. It’s like a sin to think of the elections today, because a lot of people are struggling, then there is a surge in cases. I think it’s not right. A lot of things may happen too.)
“Marami pang puwedeng mangyari. Parang kapag inisip natin iyong eleksyon ngayon, hindi natin magagawa iyong trabaho natin,” she added.
(A lot of things may happen. If we think about the election as early as today, we cannot properly do our jobs.)
Robredo also assured the public that she is not thinking about 2020 because the areas she has been visiting recently — areas assisted by the Office of the Vice President — are remote and do not have a high voter turnout.
“Kagaya ako, iyong mga pinuntahan kong mga lugar dito, iyong pinakamalalayo, iyong pinakamalalayo. Hindi naman tayo nagkaroon ng events. Talagang binisita lang natin iyong programs,” she explained.
(Like in my case, the areas I visit like here in Iloilo, are the far-flung areas. There are no events, we just visit the programs we have initiated.)
“Siguro kung eleksyon na iyong iniisip ko, magpapatawag ako ng maraming tao para hindi sayang iyong baba. So iyon nga, trabaho muna saka itong COVID response iyong asikasuhin natin,” she added.
(If I was thinking about the elections maybe I would have called for a lot of people so my trip would not be wasted. So that’s it, I would focus on working and on the COVID-19 response.)
Several names have emerged in connection with the presidential elections in 2022, which are about seven months away from the filing of certificates of candidacy.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, was the talk of the town in January and February after her supporters put up streamers and tarpaulins across the country urging her to run for president in 2022.
READ: ‘Run, Sara, Run’ tarps sprout like mushrooms on Zamboanga del Sur highways
The President said that he does not want the younger Duterte to succeed him, as he believes the job is not for a woman, and because politics in the country is too dirty.
READ: Duterte says presidency no job for a woman
READ: Surigao del Sur governor urges Duterte to convince daughter, Go to run in 2022
But it wasn’t just Duterte-Carpio who was rumored to run in 2022: President Duterte recently joked that his former aide Senator Bong Go approached him to express his intention to run for president.
Go maintained that the president was kidding, but he left the door open for a potential candidacy, particularly if Duterte heeds his party’s call to run for vice president.
READ: Duterte bares Bong Go’s presidential dream but senator says it’s a joke
READ: Would Go change his mind about presidency? There’s time to decide, senator says
Robredo has been rumored to run for president, especially after opposition groups and volunteers began campaigns urging her to take on the administration.
The Vice President previously claimed that she would rather run for a local office.
This is not the first time Robredo and Duterte-Carpio were thought to be battling for the top national leadership post: During the 2019 elections, each was seen as the strongest nominee for senator from their respective groups.
Otso Diretso, a coalition of opposition parties and leaders, was handled by Robredo, while Hugpong ng Pagbabago was handled by Duterte-Carpio. Nine of Hugpong’s 13 Senate candidates were elected, although none from Otso Diretso were elected.
READ: Negros group goes ahead with a bid to push Robredo into 2022 presidential race
READ: Robredo open to running for president but prefers local office
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