SOGOD, Bacacay, Albay — “I am the pure and true Bicolano,” Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Liberal Party’s vice presidential candidate, claimed as her edge over four other Bicolano aspirants for the same position.
In an impromptu dialogue with local media and leaders in here, Robredo said she is the only genuine Bicolano among the vice presidential candidates tracing their roots to Bicol. She said she was born and raised in Bicol, unlike her rivals who started their basic education in schools outside of the region.
The Camarines Sur solon said she was proud to finish her elementary and secondary education at the Unibersidad de Santa Isabel in Naga City.
Robredo, whose father came from Bulan, Sorsogon and mother from Camarines Sur, said while she took up her Economics degree at the University of the Philippines, she would spend her vacation in Naga City during her semestral breaks.
After earning her Economics degree in UP, she entered the law school at the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City and passed the bar examinations in 1990.
Comparing herself with other Bicolano candidates for the second highest post in the land, Robredo said she can boast that she has worked with the grassroots by providing free legal assistance to the poor, unlike her political rivals who are experienced, moneyed and have worked with well established law firms, some of them having even served big companies.
After passing the bar, she was employed at the government’s Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in Camarines Sur and later joined the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panlegal (Saligan), a non-government organization giving free legal services to members of the marginalized sector.
She said all her legal services were “gratis et amore”, saying “never in my mind I have thought of using my legal services to enrich myself.”
Robredo lamented that she has no logistics to spend for television and print advertisements but she would rely much on interpersonal campaign.
She looks forward for the improvement of her rating in the coming surveys, saying “pagpinakilala ninyo ako sa inyong ka-barangay, ito’y magiging malaking tulong sa LP campaign.”
Asked to comment on the revival of the Bicol Express train operation being used as a campaign promise to gain voters’ approval by other candidates, Robredo said “as the election campaign approaches, politicians promise the stars and heavens just to get votes.”
“It is a campaign strategy for them to look good, but they did nothing, you can ask them who among them fought for the renewal and the extension of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) when its charter expired,” she said.
“Records have it that I was the main author of the bill at the House extending the PNR charter and providing for additional capitalization, while Sen. Ralph Recto sponsored the Senate version of the bill,” Robredo claimed.
She said the plan is not only to revive the PNR but also to completely modernize it with new tracks and coaches in a five-year timeline under a Php200-B Pubic-Private Partnership scheme.
Robredo said if elected vice president, she would not accept any cabinet post with administrative functions. However, she would choose to head the National Anti-Poverty Commission, an agency pursuing program versus poverty.
As vice president, she said she would continue to ride passenger buses but with companions already.