Anatomy of a speech: Why Robredo’s candidacy announcement is an unusual tearjerker

October 7, 2021 - 9:34 PM
Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo announces her candidacy for president, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 7, 2021. (Reuters/Lisa Marie David)

Vice President Leni Robredo‘s much anticipated announcement of her next steps in politics earlier today fulfilled hopes of her supporters for a presidential run.

In a brief address, Robredo admitted she did not initially want to heed calls for higher office but formed her conviction when she saw the need.

“Buong buo ang loob ko ngayon. Kailangan nating palayain ang sarili mula sa kasalukuyang sitwasyon. Lalaban ako. Lalaban tayo. Inihahain ko ang aking sarili bilang kandito sa pagkapangulo sa halalan ng 2022,” she said.

Following her address, pro-Robredo hashtags, the word “pink,” the phrase “lalaban tayo” and other related terms dominated conversations on Twitter as her supporters cheered for her.

They also brandished photos, gifs and artworks in shades of pink colors as the vice president’s camp used the pink color for her campaign.

READ: ‘Lalaban ako, lalaban tayo’: Robredo’s remarks trend on Twitter PH after confirming presidential bid

Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy for president on Thursday afternoon. She was accompanied by her daughters Aika and Tricia.

Positive observations on her speech

Her staff said she wrote her address herself.

Speechwriters of the previous administration described Robredo’s speech as a relief to listen to and refreshing to watch.

“My opinion—biased because of my politics but credible because my entire life was speeches at one point—is that was a perfect speech. That’s what happens when the writer rises to the level of the principal, and then the principal takes it a notch higher,” former speechwriter Gian Lao said.

“It just occurred to me, after nearly six years of ranting, snarling, rambling, monologuing, the country got to see and hear a coherently-organized, sincerely-felt, but clearly expressed, speech. And many were moved. Welcome back to a leadership that respects you, the audience,” wrote columnist Manolo Quezon III, also former head speechwriter.

Some communication professionals also provided insights on why they deemed Robredo’s address as effective.

“That speech was refreshing–brief and on time (and live), pointed and direct but without cuss words, clear and coherent, hopeful yet grounded, inclusive and encouraging,” former Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te said.

“Regardless of your political stance, that’s how a speech should be. Started with who am I and what have I been doing, why I am making this decision, THE decision, call to action to campaign, and a foresight of what I can do,” a news desk editor wrote.

Other users picked up on what they perceive as inclusivity and empathy in Robredo’s words.

“Her words were full of empathy—all obtained from her first-hand experience in helping Filipinos. Not of ambition nor pretentiousness,” one user said. 

“Another thing that I loved about Leni’s speech is her emphasis on collectivism; that it is not her promise to make everything ok for us but rather, we all must work together hand-in-hand to make this country a better place. No messiah complex here,” another user wrote. 

Some users were more scathing in comparing her manner with that of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Duterte has been known for his rambling tirades and profanity-laden national addresses in the five years of his administration.

“Yun ang pesidential speech. Coherent, walang mura, at punong puno ng respeto sa mga constituents. After years of hearing a man-child disrespect his podium, it’s very refreshing hearing Leni’s speech,” one user said. 

“Listening to VP Leni’s speech was like a breath of fresh air. Maayos, mahinahon, at masarap pakinggan ang boses. Ganito na ba tayo ka-deprived sa maayos na speech?” another user commented. 

“Short but informative, direct but respectful. May I add the basic standards of coherence and substance, a deviation from the drunk talking we’ve had to endure since 2016,” another user wrote. 

Some of the vice president’s celebrity supporters also shared that they shed tears after watching her speech.

“Tears of HOPE,” wrote Bianca Gonzales.

“SINONG UMIIYAK,” Saab Magalona said.

“Naiyak ako watching @lenirobredo’s speech because I realized how cynical I’ve become in the past six years and how touching it was to watch an actual frontliner and victim in the Duterte regime still shine with hope and love for this country,” director Quark Henares said.