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Philippines’s No. 2 Leni Robredo joins race to succeed Duterte | Information

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo has declared she’s going to run for president in Might 2022, embarking on an uphill political battle in a crowded subject to succeed populist incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte, as she hopes to copy her come-from-behind 2016 victory in an election reshaped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m formally providing myself as candidate for president within the 2022 elections. I’ll tackle the struggle. We are going to struggle collectively,” Robredo mentioned on Thursday as she introduced her marketing campaign for the presidency in a speech delivered in Tagalog.

“The problem we face is evident to everybody. We’ve seen the lies and the abuse. They’ve the cash and the equipment.”

Robredo’s candidacy takes on a brand new urgency following the entry into the presidential race of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son and namesake of the Philippine strongman, who was eliminated following a well-liked revolt in 1986. Within the 2016 vice presidential race, Robredo defeated Marcos by a razor-thin margin.

Robredo, 56, has been Duterte’s vp since they have been each sworn into workplace in 2016. However she has locked horns with Duterte on a number of points and has labelled his so-called deadly war on drugs a “failure”, angering him.

Presidents and vice presidents are elected individually within the Philippines, incessantly leading to candidates from rival events, like Duterte and Robredo, working collectively in workplace however usually clashing sharply on insurance policies.

On Thursday, Rodbredo sought to make the distinction with Duterte much more stark, declaring, “we’ll defeat the previous and rotten kind of politics. We are going to hand again to extraordinary Filipinos the ability to make change.”

Final week, she was endorsed by a newly formed coalition of political and civic teams to tackle the ruling occasion equipment, which is starting to crack attributable to infighting between Duterte’s loyalists and people supporting the candidacy of Senator Manny Pacquiao, the boxing legend who can be looking for the presidency.

In endorsing Robredo, the coalition mentioned that she has the “integrity, competence and monitor report” to steer the nation, which is dealing with a historic financial hunch on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed at the very least 38,000 folks within the Philippines.

When the endorsement was introduced final Thursday, the vp had pleaded to be given extra time to suppose via her determination. In current months and weeks, she has been making an attempt to persuade divergent political teams and personalities to rally behind one opposition candidate. However she has been spurned by her would-be rivals.

Jason Gonzales, a former mayor and incumbent provincial legislator from the central Philippines is amongst these backing Robredo. He instructed Al Jazeera that Robredo is the one candidate who has constantly held on to her ideas, regardless of the political dominance of Duterte and his allies throughout the previous couple of years.

Gonzales provides that Robredo’s grasp of what a frontrunner needs to be “is each broad and deep”, having served as vp since 2016.

“If we’re speaking concerning the qualities wanted with a view to govern, I believe she has it in spades,” Gonzales mentioned.

Crowded race

Except for Robredo and Pacquiao, those that have declared their candidacy embrace former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and former police chief and incumbent Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Aside from Robredo, all the opposite declared presidential candidates have previous affiliations with Duterte, leaving her because the nominal opposition candidate.

Her supporters have argued that she is the “actual opposition” within the upcoming race. However in a rustic, the place politics is pushed extra by persona and political connections and fewer about coverage and beliefs, staking a declare to characterize the opposition could possibly be tough.

Looming giant within the race is Duterte himself, who till final weekend was anticipated to run as vp. As an alternative, he has mentioned that he’s retiring from politics.

Robredo has been serving as Duterte’s vp since they have been each sworn into workplace in 2016, however she is taken into account as an opposition determine and has incessantly clashed with the president on a number of points together with the so-called lethal battle on medicine [File: Bullit Marquez/AP]

That might pave the best way for the late entry into the race of his daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. She has been main in surveys in a hypothetical presidential election, though her numbers have declined within the newest survey printed in September.

The deadline for the submitting of candidacy is on Friday, October 8.

However declared candidates can nonetheless withdraw, and be substituted by one other candidate till November 15.

Duterte-Carpio stays coy about whether or not she’s going to really run.

On Saturday, she filed her papers to run for re-election as mayor of Davao, the Dutertes’ political stronghold. On the similar time, in current weeks, her supporters have been placing up outsized banners together with her picture everywhere in the nation regardless of election prohibitions.

Amid the suspense, Robredo has considerably stepped up her critique of the Duterte administration’s “lack of focus and management” in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is rising as a key subject among the many nation’s greater than 64 million registered voters.

She additionally referred to as “unforgivable” the alleged misuse of thousands and thousands of {dollars} value of public funds to purchase medical gear.

“How do these folks even handle to sleep at night time? There are such a lot of Filipinos who’re struggling. But all they’ll take into consideration is extortion,” she requested in a radio interview, referring to the accused personalities, who’re linked to the president.

Lengthy highway forward

However Robredo’s path to the presidency won’t be a simple one.

The most recent survey performed by Pulse Asia polling, which confirmed Duterte-Carpio main, noticed Robredo trailing behind 5 potential presidential candidates. In contrast with the July polling outcomes, nonetheless, she has doubled her help in Metro Manila and the central Visayas area.

In 2016, when the still-unknown Robredo was picked because the vice-presidential running-mate of the earlier administration’s standard-bearer, she was additionally polling in single digits and was far behind a number of different contenders.


However Robredo ultimately defeated a well-liked and well-financed senator, Marcos Jr.

“Leni was the brand new child within the block. There was numerous curiosity about her. Individuals who met her for the primary time wished to vote for her. In fact, she additionally labored onerous. To her credit score, she hit the bottom operating,” Fe Zamora, a veteran journalist who covers politics and the navy, instructed Al Jazeera.

The distinction this time is that she is operating because the candidate of the opposition who was roundly thrashed within the 2019 mid-term elections That 12 months, all 12 opposition senatorial candidates have been defeated by allies of Duterte. She can be the incumbent vp and has been within the public eye for over 5 years.

Her hostility to a lot of Duterte’s insurance policies made Robredo a goal of relentless political and private assaults on social media by allies of the president, which dented her recognition.

The legitimacy of her win was additionally questioned by Marcos, who misplaced by a slim margin of greater than 260,000 votes. The case went all the best way to the Supreme Courtroom, which dismissed Marcos’s grievance, however the drawn-out authorized struggle left Robredo politically bruised.

“Marcos and the [Duterte] camps have been demonising her since 2016 exactly to stop an expanded Robredo political base,” Zamora mentioned.

However Anna Blanco, an authorized public accountant and a frontrunner of a gaggle of execs supporting Robredo, says that the vp’s monitor report may assist her overcome her polling deficit as soon as the campaigning begins.

“From what we’ve seen, how she has comported herself, and what she has achieved for the final 5 years, she has the competence and character to be the rightful subsequent president,” Blanco, who’s initially from Mindanao, instructed Al Jazeera.

‘She has grown in workplace’

A comparatively novice politician, Lobredo first ran for public workplace after the 2012 demise of her husband, who had been the nation’s inside minister.

Robredo had solely served one time period as a member of the Home of Representatives and was thought-about as an unknown earlier than she was tapped for the vice presidential race in 2016. Her occasion’s candidate for the highest job misplaced out to Duterte.

As vp, Robredo was briefly the top of the federal government’s housing and growth company, however she was compelled to resign after Duterte’s cupboard excluded her from conferences.

In 2019, she additionally served in a authorities anti-drugs council, after Duterte requested her to assist following her repeated criticisms of his bloody crackdown. After simply 18 days he fired her.

Duterte’s lethal battle on medicine is now the subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court.

Robredo had mentioned the drug battle violated the human rights of many poor suspects whereas failing to go after the big-time suppliers.

Due to her criticisms, allies of Duterte in Congress lowered her workplace’s price range, leaving her with restricted monetary sources to function.

However that has not stopped her from elevating cash for her programmes, mentioned Jess Lorenzo, the convener of a motion backing Robredo’s candidacy.

Lorenzo says that final 12 months the vp’s workplace raised as a lot as $2m to assist households affected by the pandemic.

“This tells me that she is a frontrunner that has the belief of the folks. This can be a chief that may channel this belief endowed to her in direction of the disaster at hand,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

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