When Leni Robredo announced her presidential bid for the May 2022 polls, she wore a striking pink ribbon on her chest. Not too long after, Filipinos filled their timelines with all things pink to express their support for her. So, why pink? Whatever happened to yellow?
Robredo said that yellow, which she used before as a member of the Liberal Party, was used to represent opposition to the dictatorship that happened during the Marcos regime, which perpetrated a recorded number of human rights violations under martial law. This time, Robredo said, the fight is different—and it’s much bigger than ever before.
“Ang nilalabanan natin ngayon, hindi lang yung pagbabalik ng anak ng diktador. Ang nilalabanan natin ngayon, masamang pamamahala na siya yung nagiging sanhi ng mga problemang pinagdadaanan natin ngayon, yung bulok na klase ng pulitika na paulit-ulit na nangyayari sa atin ngayon,” she declared.
Robredo said her camp didn't spend much time planning what color to use as she only confirmed her intention to run for president recently. But she said that pink represents the groundswell of volunteers and supporters. “Lagi naming sinasabi, kami ay nakikinig sa taong bayan na kung palagay nila ito yung kulay na magsi-symbolize ng sama-samang aspiration para mapalitan na yung klase ng pamumuno na meron tayo ngayon, gagawin namin yun,” she said.
Robredo also said that color alone does not define anyone. “May kasabihan na we are defined by the choices we make,” she said. “Hindi naman yun sa kulay. Yung sa akin, importante din sa akin ang pink kasi pakikiisa sa mga naniniwala, pakikiisa sa mga outpouring, not support for me, pero outpouring of emosyon, pakiramdam about how things are going dito sa bansa natin.”
Additionally, she said that running as an independent is “our symbolic way of showing na bukas kami sa pakikipag-alyansa sa maraming mga partido, yung aming sinusulong na inclusivity, yung sinimulan namin ng pakikipagusap kahit hindi bahagi ng partido.”
Together with her running mate Senator Kiko Pangilinan, the two shared how hard it was for their families to accept their decision to run for the highest offices in the land.
Sharing that her daughters have been against it even in 2016, when she ran for VP in the previous polls, Robredo described her presidential bid as the most difficult move she has made in her entire life for this reason. “Nung kumandidato ako para VP, kontrang kontra na sila. Yung usapan namin noon ay last na yun,” she said.
“Nung lumalabas na yung pangalan ko na posibleng maging pangulo, parating pinapaalala ng mga anak ko na ‘Mama, may promise ka ha, na last na yun.’ So struggle siya,” she said. But Robredo said her daughters eventually accepted her decision. “Kahit alam nila na magiging napakahirap sa kanila, alam nila na this is the right thing to do. Alam nila na kahit mabigat para sa kanila ay susuporta sila 100%.”
It was the same for vice presidential aspirant Pangilinan. “Talagang hindi madali para sa pamilya yung mga sumasabak sa ganitong laban,” he said. “Pero dito sa puntong ito, siguro din kasi mahal na mahal ni Sharon (his wife) si Ma’am Leni, eh nakita niya yung pangangailan din ng mga bansa, nakita niya yung kahalagan na magtulungan para mahanapan ng solusyon yung mga problema ng bansa.”
Pangilinan said it also gave his wife pause that he will be running against Sen. Tito Sotto, who is Sharon's uncle. But he said Sharon eventually told him she will support him.
“We prayed about it, nag-usap kami, tumawag ako sa kanya. She was in New York then, kasama si Frankie, tinext ko din si KC about this. It’s not really as difficult for the candidate than it is for the family kasi talagang ang laki ng sakripisyo nila at pagsusuporta,” he said.