MANILA, Philippines — Twenty-three Cabinet secretaries and senior officials under the administration of former President Fidel Ramos backed the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo in 2022 as they expressed grave concern over the “proliferation of misinformation, dubious promises and outright falsehoods” emerging ahead of the polls.
In a statement of support for Robredo’s candidacy dated January 12, the former officials said the incumbent vice president “can credibly lead us closer” to the “unified, humane, just, progressive, economically vibrant, sustainable and equitable society that is the dream of every Filipino.”
“We therefore enjoin our fellow Filipinos to support her candidacy, as we ourselves pledge our wholehearted commitment to do our share to help her become the next President of the Republic of the Philippines,” they said.
In expressing support for Robredo, they said they are “gravely concerned that the emerging campaign for the coming elections is being compromised by the proliferation of misinformation, dubious promises and outright falsehoods; deliberate thought manipulation especially via social media through the use of large numbers of fictitious accounts and mercenary troll armies; misuse of certain polls and surveys that may not necessarily reflect and represent true voter preferences.”
The ex-officials also raised alarm over the “continued patronage and money politics that have traditionally perpetuated undesirable dynasties and diverted people’s choices away from electing principled leaders.”
“We believe that the country sorely needs a leader who will inspire unity, solidarity and teamwork in government and among all Filipinos; empower our people, especially the disadvantaged and marginalized in society; and bring out the best of servant leadership in government officials and public servants by being the foremost example of integrity, dedication, professionalism, level-headedness, statesmanship, pursuit of excellence, hard work, and true caring and sharing for our fellow Filipinos,” they said.
“These are the leadership qualities that we directly witnessed President Ramos espouse and exemplify, and which we seek in the next President of our country,” they added.
The 23 former officials said they see the upcoming polls as “a critical crossroads” for the Philippines, especially amid the “deep scars” inflicted by the pandemic on the country’s economy and society.
“The country needs to elect a leader who will lead us into the positive path to the unified, humane, just, progressive, economically vibrant, sustainable and equitable society that is the dream of every Filipino,” they said.
“We believe that Vice-President Leni Robredo is the only presidential candidate who possesses the above-described qualities, and who can credibly lead us Filipinos closer towards that dream,” they added.
Former National Economic and Development Authority chief Cielito Habito, one of the signatories of the statement, told INQUIRER.net that they had a “pleasant” one-hour Zoom meeting with Robredo last Monday, Jan. 11.
Another signatory, Milwida Guevara, a finance undersecretary during the Ramos administration, also confirmed the statement to INQUIRER.net.
Robredo said she was “humbled” by the support that the former Cabinet members and officials have expressed for her presidential bid.
“I look up to the leadership that FVR espoused, which I believe was affirmed by the brilliant people who served alongside him—matitino at mahuhusay,” she said in a tweet.
Humbled by the support of Cabinet members and senior officials of the Ramos administration. I look up to the leadership that FVR espoused, which I believe was affirmed by the brilliant people who served alongside him—matitino at mahuhusay. https://t.co/9FVArFxWNi
— Leni Robredo (@lenirobredo) January 13, 2022
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Read More:In ‘critical’ 2022 polls, FVR-term Cabinet members back Robredo’s presidential bid