Philippine “vice president” seems to have learnt nothing from what is an ever-lengthening history of botched PR jobs surrounding her personal brand. The recent debacle she finds herself in — being seen to be a self-promoting, camera-hogging, commander-in-chief wannabe during and after this year’s wave of typhoons — is the outcome of yet another dishonest media campaign mounted by her halfwit handlers.
This campaign — amplified and cheered on by her legions of rabid social media “influencers” — contained the usual peppering of “candid” photos and one-line sound bytes as Robredo engaged in various “relief” activities. What was particularly disturbing, however, was how Robredo presumed to “coordinate” the activities of the Philippine military and Coast Guard — as if she were part of the chain of command or, worse, the Commander-in-Chief herself. The crooked strategy of this media campaign was to exploit the perception that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was nowhere to be found in those times of crises and, as such, a perfect opportunity for the “vice president” to step up and fill that media-manufactured leadership “void”. In so doing, Robredo (and her mob) fancied herself as the only government official who was “doing something” and, even more bizarre, the only one who knew what she was doing.
The PR strategy reads almost like the plot of the 1988 film Die Hard where lead character John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) went about single-handedly saving the day, evidently smarter and savvier than all the police, FBI, and CIA combined. It would have worked in a time when Filipinos still got all their news, information, and entertainment from mainstream media channels. With a Philippine mainstream news media industry biased towards the agendas of the Yellowtards (the partisan bloc rabidly loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan), this whole Leni Robredo Show would have all been lapped up by an utterly-misinformed public. Unfortunately for the Yellowtards, Filipinos now know better than to trust these crooked organisations. Indeed, there is even a conflict-of-interest at work here seeing how both former and current employees and contracted “talent” of discredited media business ABS-CBN were attempting to correlate the loss of their employer’s broadcasting franchise to the plight of the disaster victims.
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Meanwhile, largely unseen, uncelebrated, and beavering away with little fanfare in the background were the various state agencies that oversee the bigger picture as far as the practice of disaster preparedness and disaster response is concerned. The job of a chief executive is to ensure that these agencies work together not just during but before and after disaster strikes. The job of an executive is in the leading and managing and not in the doing.
If Robredo aspires to be chief executive, she should exhibit a similar confidence in being able to work outside of the limelight and focus on getting real macro results quietly. What Robredo exhibits instead is a penchant for the renowned tingi (piecemeal) approach old-school Filipinos apply to dealing with challenges of national consequence. The irony that flies over Robredo’s pointed head is in how, for such small “achievements”, she and her girls blow such loud trumpets. Filipinos deserve something better than this shrill “opposition”. They deserve a more intelligent one focused on quiet achievement.
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