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Friday, January 6, 2017

Leni Robredo: the Philippines' #PoliticalCinderella


Temporarily diverting from a #Travelife here: Is it just me who is imagining an overnight lifestyle change for Madame Leni Robredo?

During #Halalan2016, we were practically smothered by the media with poignant photos of the VP candidate taking buses to Bicol and taxis to bus stations, and buying snacks at convenience stores. She even said in one interview that she only had two usable dresses.

This gave me the impression of modesty and simplicity, not to mention an almost pitiful lack of resources compared to the formidable arsenals of other VP candidates. How can someone with only two dresses fight in an election against the likes of Bong Bong Marcos, after all?

Then Comelec released the election campaign spending reports of all candidates and it turns out that modest and simple Leni was the biggest VP candidate campaign spender. She spent something like a whopping PhP 450 million on her campaign, which was about PhP 100 million more than the next biggest spender.

Who were her donors and where did this money come from? Are lugaw fundraisers that profitable? Because if lugaw sales actually generated even a fraction of the 450 million PhP she spent on her campaign, then most of us are in the wrong line of business. And I'm sure going to be brushing up on my lugaw skills this 2017.

Then, now we find out she's holidaying in New York while her province languishes in the aftermath of a super typhoon. I'll refrain from being judgmental about her priorities here, and instead I'll focus on this very noticeable lifestyle change.

I don't know about you, but the last time I was in New York, I was counting my pennies because everything is so expensive. So a family holiday in New York needs rather deep pockets. Or a generous sponsor. And if it's the latter, we have a right to know who this is in case her public office is compromised by such largesse from a third party.

Nothing wrong with being the biggest spender in an election campaign if you run it with transparent records. And one is certainly entitled to take the family to New York for a bit of fun if one can honestly afford it and has enough vacation leaves. And if you really think your holiday is more important than public service (and I mean real public service here; not just public service in words or photo opportunities).

But public officials will have to cope and live with the fall-outs from their decisions on such matters. In this case, the VP has reaped a barrage of criticism for choosing to continue on with her holiday even with her province in despair.

And I just hope she filed a proper leave of absence as she is accountable to all of us taxpayers for her time, as a salaried government official.

However, let's be clear. Everyone, even a public official, is entitled to his or her own priorities and diversions as long as they're not neglecting their public duties, becoming beholden to third parties in the process, using diverted public funds or drug money.

Nevertheless, so many government officials seem to forget that we, the Filipino people, are paying for their time -- so they need to use their time and resources wisely and account for their actions and decisions. Furthermore, they seem to not understand that we citizens have every right to question what they are doing for us, where they got the funds for their campaigns, and what they are doing with their time on our pay.

But for now, the most troubling thing to me here is the fact that the BEFORE and AFTER images of Madame Robredo just don't match. So can someone please tell me? Which image represents the real Leni Robredo? Or are both sets of images accurate and she just moved up in the world overnight like a political Cinderella?

Krizette Laureta Chu, maybe you can answer this... ;)

#DU30 #Duterte

Christine Cunanan as posted on Facebook.

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