Leni: Congress bid to diminish power of Villafuerte dynasty
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 1, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Camarines Sur third district congressional candidate Atty. Ma Eleonor “Leni” Robredo believes her candidacy would give a chance to diminish the power of a political dynasty in the province.

Robredo, widow of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, said she knew seeking a congressional seat would be a good move for the people of Camarines Sur.

She, however, admitted having some apprehensions that her political decision might not be good for her family, especially for her three daughters – Jessica Maria, Janine Patricia and Jillian Therese – who may be affected in a bad way.

Robredo, who was supporting her husband on the sidelines when he was alive, was encouraged by Naga City folk to run in the 2013 polls after her husband died in a plane crash last Aug. 18 in Masbate.

People from all walks of life admired her courage and strength during those trying times.

“I always pray for guidance, I know I made a decision in a rush. Every day I ask myself if I did the right decision,” she said in an interview with ANC.

She thanked her children for being understanding and supportive of her decision to join politics, a move which she said was meant to prevent a dynasty to continue to expand.

She was apparently referring to the Villafuertes, whose patriarch, Camarines Sur third district Rep. Luis Villafuerte Sr., is on his third and last term, and now seeking the gubernatorial post. He is fielding his wife Nelly to replace him and face Robredo in the congressional race.

Villafuerte’s son, incumbent Gov. LRay Villafuerte, is also on his third and last term and is running for congressman in the second district. The young Villafuerte’s son Miguel is pitted against his grandfather in the gubernatorial race.

The congressman and governor have not been in good terms and have always been on opposite sides on issues, particularly on the proposal to divide the province and create the new province of Nueva Camarines.

Asked if she sees herself working with the Villafuertes, Robredo said not at the present situation when they have opposing views. She added though that she is not closing her doors.

Robredo said it would be unfair to accuse Malacañang or any from the administration of pressuring her to seek an elective post.

In fact, she said she talked to President Aquino on the night of Oct. 5, hours after she filed her certificate of candidacy.

She said the President told her that her husband would be guiding her.

She said she also talked to then Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman about her running for Congress and both advised her to pray and seek guidance.

“Secretary Mar is a very good friend of my husband and Secretary Dinky was there for me the entire time when Jesse died,” she said.

Since her husband was known for being frugal, Robredo said she has been trying so hard to keep the lifestyle her husband taught them.

“That’s my husband’s secret even if he was already in the public service. Even when he was mayor of Naga, even when he was secretary of DILG, he tried very hard not to change his lifestyle. He tried everything to keep himself grounded,” she said.

Robredo was a bit late for her TV interview because of heavy traffic in Quezon province. She just took a bus, as she does all the time, from Naga City to Manila.

CAMARINES SUR HUSBAND INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT SECRETARY JESSE ROBREDO JANINE PATRICIA AND JILLIAN THERESE JESSICA MARIA LUIS VILLAFUERTE SR. MA ELEONOR NAGA CITY NUEVA CAMARINES ROBREDO VILLAFUERTE
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