WHEN Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III announced his candidacy for president, the public was introduced to his girlfriend Shalani Soledad.

But what many people don’t know is that since then, the Valenzuela City councilor hasn’t spent much time with the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party.

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The two have been together for two years. And although the election season has made both their schedules hectic, it doesn’t seem to faze her.

“We used to have time to go out together and have dinner. Only a five-minute talk to him now is what I cherish and very much appreciate. I would not call it a problem because kailangan niya (he needs to do this). He wants to be of service to the people,” said Soledad in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

“There are some adjustments, of course, but since Senator Noy is committed to the people, we are behind him 100 percent,” she said.

Soledad, who’s in Cebu for three days to represent and campaign for Aquino’s presidential bid, said their focus now is to make his platforms be known and heard by the public.

She conducted a “palengke tour” at the Carbon market yesterday, and later met with urban poor and nongovernment organizations for a consultative meeting.

She said she is happy and overwhelmed by the Cebuanos’ warm welcome.

Asked what quality of Aquino will make him a good leader, Soledad said he has the best interest of the nation in mind.

“He wants to make sure that the government works for us,” she said.

Soledad defended Aquino when asked about his lack of experience to lead the country and his lack of major accomplishments in the Senate, saying his job has always been that of a legislator.

“Projects, like infrastructure, belong to the executive department. His job is in legislation, passing laws,” she said in Tagalog.

Soledad will attend today’s forums at the Southwestern University and the University of San Jose-Recoletos.