For presidential candidate Leni Robredo, the list of endorsers continues to grow.
Last week, more than 150 law school deans and professors endorsed Robredo, even as they lambasted her opponent Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his arrogance and, more importantly, his lack of understanding of the Constitution.
The list reads like a who’s who of the country’s top legal minds, including Philippine Association of Law Schools head and concurrent Lyceum Dean Sol Mawis; Adamson University Law Dean Anna Maria Abad; Ateneo de Manila Law Dean Jose Maria Hofilena; De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila Law Dean Virgilio delos Reyes; Ateneo de Davao Law Dean Manuel Quibod; Bicol University Law Dean Hardy Aquende; Ateneo de Naga Law Dean Domnina Rances; and Northwestern University Law Dean Manuel Aurelio.
In a statement issued on February 25 – the 36th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolt – they not only endorsed fellow lawyer Robredo but made it clear that they were rejecting her main opponent, Marcos Jr.
They stated, “There have been too many transgressions of our constitutional rights during this most repressive regime. Enough.
The rule of law in our country must be restored. We trust Leni Robredo to achieve this, to make this happen.”
They also said that Marcos Jr. “is evidently without any proven measure of competence.”
Professors from the University of the Philippines were among the signatories.
UP is where the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. completed his law degree before becoming a bar topnotcher.
It is also the same university where the candidate’s sister, Senator Imee Marcos, claimed to have graduated with honors.
The claim was eventually exposed as a lie, as she was not even a graduate of the state university.
Professors such as former Law dean of Cebu’s University of San Carlos Joan Largo; Ray Paolo Santiago of Ateneo de Manila; Arno Sanidad of DLSU-Manila; John Molo of the UP College of Law; and Carlo Cruz of Lyceum College of Law were among the signatories to the statement that said all Marcos Jr. has done is to invoke his surname.
The statement also said Marcos Jr. “has offered no concrete platform or any tangible program of government. He has not expressed any clear commitment to uphold the rule of law, our Constitution. Indeed, he has on many occasions made it clear that he does not even know, or understand, our Constitution.”
Earlier, the umbrella organization of private Catholic schools nationwide, the Catholic Educators Association of the Philippines, also endorsed Robredo, as did former presidents of the Philippine Bar Association.
Scores of former Cabinet officials of former presidents Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno Aquino III also publicly endorsed the Vice-president, including five former heads of the National Economic and Development Authority.
Robredo has thus received more endorsements from respected and legitimate organizations than the four other major presidential bets combined.
Marcos Jr. has been endorsed by a handful of religious leaders, including Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the head of a Davao-based church who is in the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Most Wanted list.
The son of the late dictator was also endorsed by Mike Velarde, head of the El Shaddai group, but the Roman Catholic Church rejected that endorsement. Church leaders said Velarde had done so in his personal capacity, even as hundreds of Catholic nuns, priests, bishops and archbishops have openly backed Robredo.
Analysts say that Robredo is favored by legal groups as well as business organizations because she is both lawyer and economist. Her organizational and management skills have also drawn praise as the country’s vice-president, as her office is the only one that has consistently passed Commission on Audit checks with flying colors.
Her campaign, however, is hampered by its lack of funds. As such, it has been dependent on donations from volunteers nationwide. Robredo is running as an independent.