Ex-Arroyo officials, more groups support Robredo presidency

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — Vice President Leni Robredo has garnered more support for her presidential bid, this time from former officials of the Arroyo administration, past presidents of the Philippine Bar Association, and members of more religious groups.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, 47 ex-officials during the term of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo endorsed a Robredo presidency, which they believe would lead the Philippines through the pandemic and other challenges.

“We vote Leni Robredo for president," the statement read. "With her, we stay safe, restore our economy and social fabric, and keep our republic whole and secure."

They said Robredo is a “bearer of balance, calm and hope” but is also “rock-steady” regarding military might, ensuring security, and protecting the country’s rights, including in the West Philippine Sea.

The signatories include former Cabinet members, department undersecretaries, and high-ranking officers of several government agencies. The declaration comes as Arroyo's political party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats or Lakas-CMD, backs the tandem of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.

“Many are beset by fear, anxiety, and lethargy. We need a strong woman in the house to rekindle our energy and resolve,” they said.

Meanwhile, 17 past presidents of the Philippine Bar Association, the oldest voluntary national organization of lawyers in the country, also threw their support behind the opposition leader.

They said they have full confidence in Robredo’s commitment to the rule of law, "the best guarantee of stability” in the country.

Citing her experience as a human rights lawyer, the former heads also said Robredo is "the best reminder" that the law "serves the people, and not the other way around."

“For more than a century, the PBA has kept watch to uphold the rule of law. We believe VP Leni Robredo will keep this vigil alive. And we call on our colleagues in the profession to join us,” they wrote in a statement.

More support from religious groups

Apart from former government executives and lawyers, officials of at least two more religious institutions said they are also backing Robredo's election bid.

Among them are members of the Couples for Christ International Council (CFC IC), which publicly declared its support for a candidate for the first time since the organization's inception 40 years ago.

The council, which governs the CFC, said it has “reached the decision to support the presidential candidacy of Leni Robredo.” It stressed, however, that this was based on “individual IC member choices,” and that it is not forcing its beliefs on the rest of the community.

The council added it will stick to its policy of not using the CFC to endorse candidates in order to avoid imposing block voting.

“We arrived at our individual decision to support Leni Robredo after much prayer discernment, and dialogue. We expect you to do the same and go through the same process of discernment we went through,” the members said, adding they will respect different choices.

Meanwhile, the representatives and lay members of the Vincentian Family also declared their “full support” for Robredo and her running mate Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan.

“As members of the Vincentian Family, inspired by the example of St. Vincent de Paul, who dedicated his life to uplift the poor in his time, we have chosen to back the candidates who have consistently shown that they are on the side of the poor and the marginalized, and have lived by Christian ideals and Vincentian convictions,” the group said.

The Vincentian Family likewise urged its members and the public to be critical voters.