Robredo meets separately with bickering political supporters in Cagayan de Oro

RoSa campaigners say Vice President Leni Robredo never discussed with them their choice for the vice presidency

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Coming from a hectic schedule in Eastern Visayas, Vice President Leni Robredo flew to Cagayan de Oro City in Northern Mindanao on Wednesday, March 30, to hold separate talks with political leaders who recently declared support for her presidential bid .

Robredo met with Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez and Misamis Oriental 2nd District Representative Juliette Uy in a hotel in Cagayan de Oro.

She also met with Representative Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba and her husband Jose Manuel, a candidate for the position that would be left vacant by the congresswoman.

Robredo was also scheduled to meet with Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno on Thursday.

All the local politicians Robredo met with wereing for her, but differed in their choices for the vice presidency.

Rodriguez and Uy are supporting Robredo and vice presidential bet Davao Mayor Sara Duterte while Moreno and the Acostas were behind Robredo’s running mate, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

Moreno, the first local chief executive in Mindanao to declare his support for Robredo after she filed her certificate of candidacy in 2021, is not on good terms with Rodriguez and Uy, the reason why Robredo met with them separately.

Moreno and Rodriguez ended their three-year political alliance in 2016 when the Congressman suddenly announced at the eleventh hour that he was challenging the mayor’s reelection bid that year.

Uy and Moreno, meanwhile, are rivals in this year’s gubernatorial race in Misamis Oriental.

Rodriguez, who met with Robredo together with other local candidates under his Centrist Democratic Party, said they never discussed the matter of his group’s support for another vice-presidential candidate during their hour-long meeting.

“We just talked about our support for her campaign. RoSa (Robredo-Sara) was never discussed for obvious reasons,” Rodriguez told reporters.

He said neither were concessions discussed except for the two projects he wanted Robredo to pursue if she wins the presidency.

Railway, hydroelectric plants

Rodriguez said he asked Robredo to him she would pursue the ambitious Mindanao railway project, starting with Northern Mindanao as originally planned, and work for the rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi hydroelectric plants in Bukidnon and Lanao del Sur, if she became president.

“These are game-changer projects for Northern Mindanao to bring cheap transportation and electricity,” Rodriguez said.

Following Rodriguez and his group, Representative Alba and her husband arrived and met with Robredo.

Alba did not speak to reporters after they emerged from a function room an hour later.

Alba’s husband, Jose Manuel, is seeking the congressional post in Bukidnon that she would be vacating this year, a move that strained relations in the Acosta family. The congresswoman’s brother, Neric, is seeking the same congressional seat, a position he held before.

Meanwhile, Robredo met with Representative Uy, her family, and supporters late Wednesday night.

Uy said Robredo wanted to meet with her and her group after the congresswoman declared her support for her presidential bid on Sunday, March 27.

The congresswoman’s husband, Julio, who is running for congressman in Misamis Oriental’s 2nd District, said his wife and Robredo have long been friends.

“We are not talking about RoSa. This meeting is just a meeting of old friends,” Julio said.

Robredo and Mayor Moreno are scheduled to meet on Thursday. –

Froilan Gallardo is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship

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