Photo courtesy of VP Leni Media Bureau

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Presidential aspirant and Vice President Leni Robredo met with political personalities from the region over a week ago on March 30, not to discuss the Robredo-Sara Duterte (RoSa) movement some of these politicians are pushing, but rather on how she can help Mindanao if she wins the presidency.

Robredo and Duterte belong to opposing political parties, as Robredo’s running mate is Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan as her vice president, while Duterte’s tandem is former Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.

Those who met with Robredo at a hotel here were Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, incumbent Bukidnon 1st District Rep. Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba, and Misamis Oriental 2nd District Rep. Juliette Uy.

Rodriguez heads the Centrist Democratic Party, Acosta-Alba is affiliated with the Bukidnon Paglaum Party, and Uy is with the National Unity Party (NUP).

Rodriguez is seeking reelection, Acosta-Alba is no longer running although her husband Jose Manuel is gunning for the position she will be vacating, while Uy is setting her sights on the Misamis Oriental governorship.

In separate interviews, Rodriguez, Acosta-Alba and Uy shared they are campaigning for the “RoSa” tandem, as they knew Robredo from working with her in the 16th Congress.

In an interview right after his meeting with Robredo, Rodriguez said they never talked of the “RoSa” tandem.

“We did not discuss [‘RoSa’], we just discussed (the) campaign for her. She did not convince us to vote for Leni-Kiko either,” Rodriguez said.

He said they asked Robredo that if she becomes president, she will focus on the development of the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan railway project and the rehabilitation of Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex.

“Our commitment to VP Leni is to campaign hard for her, convince our people in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro. On my part, to convince other congressmen to join her, as now we already have many congressmen with us,” Rodriguez said.

Acosta-Alba said they were merely exchanging pleasantries with Robredo, adding, “we will still continue to help [Robredo].”

She also observed that Robredo has made it a point to visit the farmers in Sumilao town, Bukidnon, every now and then.

Robredo has extended legal assistance when the farmers marched from Mindanao to Manila to appeal to the national government to give them back their ancestral domain in 2007.

Misamis Oriental 2nd District congressional candidate Julio Uy, speaking on behalf of his wife Juliette, said Robredo wanted to meet the local NUP chapter after they have announced March 27 that they are supporting the vice president.

“The group, NUP, has decided to support VP Leni and we stick with that decision,” Uy said, adding that they believe Robredo can help Northern Mindanao, especially Misamis Oriental.

He also noted that his wife and his daughter Jennie Rosalie Uy-Mendez, the incumbent mayor of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, are personal friends of Robredo and their decision to support her was based on their familiarity of the vice president and her performance and work ethic. (

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