A FRIEND’s niece — studying at UP Diliman — asked incredulously why I wasn’t voting for the university’s choice, Leonor Robredo. I didn’t want to ruin my friendship with her uncle by insulting her intelligence. So, I restrained myself and later Vibered to her the link to my column entitled “Robredo: Our worst and most useless vice president ever,” written in October 2019. Actually, she’s gotten much, much worse than my portrayal of her in that piece:
To very clearly see why Leonor Robredo — the Yellow cult’s last pathetic attempt to create a false idol — has been the republic’s worst vice president, one just has to remember our past vice presidents.
In comparison to these, she is an intellectual and political pygmy.
Let’s start with the most recent one. Jejomar Binay had been Makati mayor for six terms and, despite the Yellows’ intense campaign to paint him as corrupt in the last presidential elections, his role in Makati’s growth as the country’s premier financial district is incontestable.
Even as he won the vice-presidential post in 2010 against the Yellows, he helped President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd as chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). He was also presidential adviser for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) concerns and head of the Task Force OFW, which assisted OFWs who were maltreated by their employers to return to the Philippines with the assistance of the government.
Did he spend his time criticizing his president, to the extent of sending messages to the United Nations and other bodies abroad full of lies about the current administration? No.
His predecessor was Noli de Castro, one of the country’s most successful broadcast journalists, who helped President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s often beleaguered administration survive the intense Yellow propaganda against her. For six years, he ably managed the country’s housing program as HUDCC chairman.
Teofisto Guingona had been a veteran senator for 12 years, an executive secretary and justice secretary. In the first year of the Arroyo administration, he was a voice of wisdom in the Cabinet and was its foreign secretary. He resigned in 2002, as he was often at odds with Arroyo’s foreign affairs policy. He did support the Yellow opposition, especially after the so-called “Hello Garci” scandal broke out.
But did he go around the country and the world spreading lies about the president then, as Robredo has been doing? No.
A university economics professor and trade industry assistant secretary, President Joseph Estrada’s vice president, Arroyo, was a three-term representative of Congress and took on the job as Social Welfare and Development secretary, giving that department a boost in prestige and influence. She did go against her president, when she resigned her post, in October 2000, since Estrada’s clinging to the presidency had become untenable and damaging to the country’s stability.
Even as she let the wheels of justice run to prosecute Estrada, did she ever go around the country and the world spreading lies to paint her former president evil? No.
Even as he ran against Fidel Ramos’ party, Estrada, the mayor of San Juan for 17 years and a senator, was extremely cooperative with his president and took on the job as head of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, which effectively terminated — figuratively or not — the kidnapping gangs that had plagued the country during that time.
Even as Ramos’ propaganda machine started to do him in in 1997, as he was emerging as the strongest candidate for the 1998 elections, did he ever badmouth his president, even as that administration’s alleged corruption had started to smell? No.
We can go to vice presidents in the pre-martial law era and what stands out is the fact that all of them were both men of stature in the political firmament and supportive of their presidents, even if one, Diosdado Macapagal, would later run against his president and another, Fernando Lopez, would throw the full weight of his clan’s media empire against his president, Ferdinand Marcos.
Given such veritable political, intellectual or economic titans as our past vice presidents, it is indeed astonishing that such a lightweight as Robredo became vice president. It is explicable only if the allegations of massive cheating — such as cases of zero votes in Moro towns or districts where the Iglesia ni Cristo has proven in many elections to have solid command in elections — are true.
Robredo was the Yellows’ pathetic attempt at repeating history — which therefore as the aphorism says it would result in — is a farce. She couldn’t have won election as barangay (village) chairman if her husband Jesse had not died in an accident for the Yellow to use their old “necro-politics” playbook and if the Yellows did not have such a formidable electoral cheating machine in the last elections.
A more thinking vice president would do what Binay or Arroyo did, which was to fully support the incumbent president, to prove she could be a leader of the nation. But what has she done in the past three or so years? Demonize her president, not only to the country, but to the world.
This verged on treason in 2017, when she sent a video message to the 60th meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotics Drugs, which was full of lies, among them that under the Duterte government “more than 7,000* people have been killed in summary executions.” Every chance she gets, she puts out some inane statement that criticizes the President for every policy, every move he makes.
Assume that there were indeed extrajudicial killings (EJKs) during Duterte’s watch — and I myself believe there have been given that there are undeniably psychopaths in the police, in any police force anywhere in the world — what should a responsible vice president have done?
She should have organized a task force of researchers, paralegals and lawyers to investigate each instance of alleged EJK and with the prestige of her office, prosecuted these police criminals.
Has she done this in even one case? No.
Do you know who represented the parents of the 17-year-old Kian Loyd de los Santos, whose murder by Caloocan police became the poster for the Yellows’ claims of EJKs under Duterte’s watch? Lawyers of the Public Attorney’s Office, an overworked, understaffed government office.
She doesn’t even consult with the more mature and veteran Liberal Party stalwarts like Sen. Franklin Drilon and former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas. The only two people she is said to listen to are her spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez of the pinko party Akbayan and the Quezon City congressman Jorge Banal, who seems to be always by her side, but whom she has said in a Facebook post as merely her “political close-in.”
We taxpayers gave Robredo’s office P1.7 billion since July 2016 — and P700 million for next year — for her to spread lies around the world?
Robredo is Exhibit A of the damage to our political system inflicted by the Yellows’ in their 18-year-old rule under Corazon Aquino, Ramos and Noynoy, so bad that it produced the worst vice president in our history, who probably even prays she can be president.
And I always thought we were evolving toward a better kind of politics.
Never again, I hope.
* In October 2019 when this piece was written the police reported only 2,582 killed in operations related to the anti-drug. Other independent counts approximated this figure.
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