Joy Belmonte is not likely to endorse Leni Robredo for president anytime soon
Vice President Leni Robredo together with her running-mate Senator Francis Pangilinan held a well-attended campaign rally early Sunday morning (February 14) at the Quezon City Memorial Circle.
Before proceeding to the venue, Robredo paid a courtesy visit to the Quezon City Hall where she was welcomed by Belmonte and other city officials who were all clad in pink – the candidate’s campaign color. Interestingly, Belmonte wore a salmon pink blouse – pretty much a symbolism of her neither-here-nor-there stand on Robredo.
Belmonte’s warm reception toward Robredo raised hopes that she may eventually endorse her. However, an endorsement probably isn’t coming anytime soon. It is likely that Belmonte is really leaning toward Robredo. After all, her family – most notably her father, former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. – was with the Liberal Party up until 2016. In fact, Belmonte as Vice Mayor helped the Vice President have the Quezon City Reception House (erstwhile known as Joseph Estrada’s “Boracay mansion”) as her official residence.
However, the calculus for Belmonte is quite complicated. Her running-mate, Vice Mayor Gian Sotto, is a son of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who is running for president under Senator Panfilo Lacson. Belmonte also appears to have close ties with another presidential candidate – Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso of Manila.
It is also worth pointing out that in 2016, then-Senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. defeated Robredo in Quezon City by over 100,000 votes. However, since Marcos and his running-mate Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of Davao City already endorsed her rival Mike Defensor, Belmonte can now go all-in for Robredo. Given Marcos’ persistent 30-point lead according to pre-election surveys, Robredo needs all the help she can get as soon as possible.