Current Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo is proving that her detractors are right about her. Even before the recently-concluded Presidential Elections, a lot of people already thought that she is not fit to be Vice President. Her recent statements to the media is not doing much to reverse that impression.
First of all, some people are wondering why she is doing a media blitz at all. She seems to be in the news a lot. If not her regular bus trips going to and from Naga City or her holiday trips overseas, the media would be reporting what she’s wearing to functions. I don’t recall previous Vice Presidents being in the limelight this much. It could have something to do with the fact that both media and Robredo have a lot of time on their hands since President Rodrigo Duterte has not given them much to work with. Or it could be because Robredo seems to be the “darling” of the media at the moment since the latter fell out of favour with Duterte. Either way, nothing significant comes out of her press conferences and media interviews.
During a recent interview with Tina Palma, Robredo said she is confident there was no cheating in the last election despite the claims of her closest rival and former Senator Bongbong Marcos. When asked by Palma what her basis is in being confident there was no cheating, she simply said that she is sure because she did not cheat. But when Palma pointed out that the electoral protest filed by Marcos did not cite her specifically – that it was the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic that were cited in the cheating allegations – her answer was a mixture of naiveté and condescension. She reiterated again that she is confident there was no cheating in the last elections. She added it was not possible since the country now uses an automated system. She also said that she finds it ridiculous that she is the only one who would benefit from the electoral fraud:
“Sigurado kasi ako hindi naman ako nandaya. Pero sigurado din akong walang pandadaya,” she said in an ANC Talkback interview that aired Monday.
“Ako kasi, confident ako na walang pandarayang nagawa kasi automated elections ito. Parang napaka-ridiculous na may pandadayang gagawin tapos ako lang ‘yung makikinabang,” Robredo added.
Those who are protesting the election results – and this includes millions of voters who felt disenfranchised for various reasons like not being able to vote in their precincts – did not say that only Robredo benefited from cheating. Marcos’s electoral protest, if investigated properly, could quite possibly expose cheating on a massive scale. It could prove that votes were also shaved from other candidates to favour the candidates allied with the Liberal Party who were said to have allegedly paid criminal syndicates to tamper with election forms and voting machines. After all, part of the complaint filed by Marcos is alleged pre-shading of votes in Mindanao prior to election. Likewise, some whistle-blowers already confirmed that it is not only Robredo who benefited from electoral fraud:
The whistleblower allegeds that not only Roxas and Robredo benefited from their Quezon operations; Senate President Franklin Drilon who topped the Senate race, along with incoming senators Risa Hontiveros and Leila De Lima also did.
They claimed the votes for Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos were taken and encoded for Robredo. Even Senator Grace Poe and other candidates were allegedly robbed of votes which were also encoded for Roxas.
The whistle-blowers’ claims are not too far-fetched. A lot of people were wondering why Drilon got more votes with 18,607,391 than President Duterte’s 16,600,000 votes. The same people were very surprised that Hontiveros and De Lima won seats in the Senate.
Robredo’s confidence that there was no cheating also highlights her arrogance. Prior to Marcos filing his election protest before Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Robredo was implying that Marcos was simply making things up to condition the minds of the public to go against her. But now that Marcos has formalised his complaint, she is still quick to dismiss the allegations. Her attitude reveals that she either did not or has not studied the basis of Marcos’s allegations – the mountain of evidence submitted to the PET. Once again, Robredo is proving she lacks foresight. What if the cheating allegations are proven right? She is putting herself in potentially humiliating situation.
Robredo should at least show concern that there are members of the public who think she benefited from electoral fraud. Dismissing them just makes those people angrier. She probably thinks they are just a product of her detractors. That kind of attitude is so Liberal Party – very dismissive of its critics. Well, she is wrong. A lot of people don’t like her because of her attitude towards cheating allegations. They think she doesn’t care that voters are not free to choose who they want to lead the country. They think she doesn’t care that the country’s democracy has become a sham thanks to criminal syndicates who have taken over the voting system. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to mocking Robredo. Her handlers could be protecting her from these facts, but that won’t help her stay grounded in reality.
Apart from her lack of foresight, Robredo’s penchant for being a bad judge of character was evident after her brief courtesy call on Duterte in Malacanang Palace. After weeks of waiting for an invite from Duterte, she decided to invite herself over. She claims she just wants to express her support in person. Sure. We believe her. She does not have a choice but to do so lest she wants to stay out of the loop and further alienate herself from the Duterte government over the next six years. But anyway, after meeting Duterte, this was what Robredo had to say:
‘Yung na-meet ko on Friday saka kanina, malayo na doon sa dati kong nakikita sa TV. Malayo doon sa preconceived notions ko about him. Kasi ‘yung dati parang sound and fury eh, nagmumura, madaling magalit, pinapagalitan ‘yung kung sinong nakaka-get his ire. Pero, Friday, kanina, ibang iba. He was very respectful, malumanay magsalita, mina-Ma’am pa nga ako,” Robredo told ANC.
It goes to show that Robredo did not look beyond the hype and negative propaganda against Duterte during the election campaign. That proves that she does not have very good analytical skills. A smart person would have studied Duterte’s tactics during the campaign and see it for what it is – brutal honesty. Meanwhile, someone like Robredo easily got swayed by warnings of “doom” and “gloom” by bleeding heart “liberals”. After all, she is one of them. She now has to eat her words – words if I remember correctly were “It would be difficult to work with Duterte”. Unfortunately, aside from being a victim of her Liberal Party mates who forced her to run even if she didn’t want to, Robredo has become a victim of her own hubris. Someone needs to knock some sense into her.
Robredo seems to be clueless about a lot of things. In another statement, she said she is not yet familiar with tasks involved in heading a big political party like the Liberal Party. Damn. How can Filipinos expect her to lead the country if she can’t even lead a political party? Robredo seems to be expecting the public to “understand” that she is still “learning” as she goes. This is the kind of stuff that makes progress in the Philippines move in a glacial pace. Filipino politicians run for higher office not knowing what to do when they finally win. God forbid something bad happens to Duterte while Robredo is Vice President. Robredo is simply not fit to replace him especially while she is still “not yet familiar with the tasks involved” in her current post.
In life, things are not always what they seem.