Camarines Sur Representative and Vice Presidential candidate Leni Robredo is a woman. She emphasizes this every chance she gets. Even when she was in the company of men during the Vice Presidential debate, she exclaimed, “May the best woman win!”. She may have said it in jest or may have been trying to be cute by showing off the fact that she is the only woman in the group, either way, it fails the ‘So What?’ Test.
Robredo could also be trying to raise the flag for women in a country still pretty much dominated by men. In saying that she is a woman, she seems to be reminding women to vote for her because she is a woman. I don’t know about other women, but I don’t judge people based on their gender; I judge them based on their merits.
While Robredo is an accomplished woman – having both an economics and law degree under her belt and now seems to be focusing on being a public servant – there are other women who are more qualified to be Vice President than she is. The problem is, they are not visible because they were not picked up by people with the campaign machinery to raise their profile. In other words, other women more qualified aren’t as useful to the Liberal Party as neophyte Congresswoman Robredo is in raising its flagging popularity among the voters. Why Robredo? Because she is the widow of a much-loved former public servant.
Truth be told, if it weren’t for her late husband’s death, former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, the Liberal Party would not even think of asking her to run as Mar Roxas’s running mate. She became the perfect bait for voters who like the picture of a “grieving widow”. But before that, we recall that it was the neophyte Senator Grace Poe who Roxas first asked to run as his VP. While Poe was still taking her time deciding whether to say yes or no to the offer, Roxas ran around like a headless chicken, desperately scouting for a VP that he will like and would like him back until a so-called civil society group started trumpeting Robredo’s name around.
The point is, Robredo was just a shoe-in for Poe. Robredo must have realized this because it took a lot of convincing for her to agree to run as Roxas’s VP. It was obvious that Roxas was not into her in the beginning. Robredo wasn’t into Roxas either. She was quoted as saying “The vice presidency is not an option for me” and that “she is more interested in running for the Senate or seeking re-election”. At some point, she even hoped that Poe would eventually agree to run as Roxas’s running mate so that she wouldn’t have to.
Robredo admitted that she is still hoping that Sen. Grace Poe will agree to be the running mate of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II in the 2016 national elections.“Sana. Hanggang wala pang announcement, hindi pa kami nawawalan ng pag-asa na somehow magkakaareglo din,” the lawmaker said.Poe is the top choice of the Liberal Party’s Roxas to be his vice president for the 2016 polls.
Robredo’s kids were also begging her not to run as VP. Her kids were smart enough to know the cost of doing so. But the pressure on Robredo to agree became heavier the longer Roxas didn’t have a running mate as the filing of certificate of candidacy got closer. President Benigno Simeon Aquino was also wooing her (after he failed to woo Poe) in front of the media. Several backdoor meetings later, she finally agreed.
The sequence of events that led to Robredo agreeing to run as Roxas’s VP says a lot about her and the people she hangs around with. She showed her lack of conviction in agreeing to do something she didn’t want to do. Her weak side was also on display when she allowed members of the Liberal Party to bully her into agreeing to run for VP under their banner. Leni Robredo is allowing herself to be used by the men from the Liberal Party. As a woman myself, that is not something I can condone. She’s falling for their cheap flattery.
After wishing Poe would accept the Liberal Party’s offer, Robredo later became Poe’s staunch critic after some people started raising Poe’s citizenship issue. Robredo criticized her openly and suggested that Poe not run for the Presidency:
For me, it’s a major issue that you’re running for President and yet at one point in your life, you renounced your Filipino citizenship
A lot of people have noted Robredo’s sudden change of attitude towards Poe. Robredo increasingly became one of Liberal Party’s attack dogs. Lately, she is focusing on attacking her Vice Presidential rival, Senator Bongbong Marcos. In the recent Vice Presidential debate, Robredo kept using the atrocities-during-Martial-Law angle against Marcos Jr. She does not have anything against him except “Martial Law”. She even said during an interview with journalist Karen Davila that “the Marcoses should be perpetually disqualified from running for public office because of magnitude of abuses, wealth they stole.”
Robredo has become irrational, indeed. It was the late former President Cory Aquino who failed to prosecute some of the top architects of Martial Law. She had no choice but to become allies with them after they helped oust the late former President Ferdinant Marcos Sr. Robredo should look at other players during Martial Law who are still alive today. Marcos Jr was not in a position to stop the atrocities committed by rogue members of the military and police under Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile respectively. It’s baffling why Robredo is singling him out. As GRP blogger Add reminded us, Robredo’s own father benefited during the Marcos years. Her late father, Antonio Gerona was appointed as Municipal Judge by Marcos Sr in 1980. She can’t deny that she lived a good life then.
In the same interview with Karen Davila, Robredo said, “government failed in instilling in the minds of people why EDSA (revolution) happened. A lot of people have forgotten”. That’s another irrational view. As a lawyer, she should realize that BS Aquino ruined the memory of EDSA. BS Aquino’s disrespect for the country’s already weak institutions, especially when he allegedly bribed members of Congress using pork barrel funds into doing what he wanted, is the reason EDSA became irrelevant today.
Until Robredo starts openly criticizing BS Aquino and his incompetent cabinet members for their shortfalls, the voters will see Robredo as a weak person and a mere pushover. Those are characteristics I do not want other women to emulate. I do not want Robredo to represent us women lest we be mistaken as weak and easily duped. No, Robredo is definitely, not fit for the Vice Presidency.
[Photo courtesy PhilStar.]