INTENDING to check on some detail about her qualifications (that she was a “professor”), I was amazed — or maybe not – that Vice President Leonor Robredo’s official biodata posted on her office’s government-paid website, was totally unchanged since Dec. 8, 2021. Why that date?
Because that was when I debunked several claims in her biodata that were incontrovertibly false. Neither she nor her office bothered to challenge my claims. She just ignored them, and didn’t’ even revise her CV to make it truthful. That’s the kind of president the Pinks want, somebody with a sense of impunity.
What I was researching on were reports also contested recently by several critics, that she was an “economics professor at the Universidad de Sta. Isabel from 1987 to 1997.”
I cannot fathom why academics with real Ph.D.’s, like the reporter of old trivia Ambeth Ocampo, the econometrician Winnie Monsod and economist Emmanuel de Dios, who are in awe of her would let her get away with such a lie. She’s exempted?
Let me educate you (to borrow from a sentence made popular by an arrogant Fink). Professorship requires a Ph.D., and Robredo had a mere bachelor’s degree. This is a requirement of the Commission on Higher Education, or its equivalent government institution, ever since universities issued Ph.D.’s. Even with a Ph.D., a university has to officially confer on somebody such rank, through its president or board of trustees authorized by the university. One may be a “Dr.,” which is an academic degree, but a professor is a university rank given to a ”Dr.”
Robredo is mimicking her adviser, Communist Party founder Jose Ma. Sison, who refers to himself as “Professor,” although he is merely an A.B. English graduate from UP. He claims so, because that is the title a think tank he himself set up conferred on him.
Following is my 2021 column which debunked her claims in her official biography, but which she to this day has totally ignored:
The “biography section” of the official website of the Office of the Vice President (ovp.gov.ph), claims that “among the laws she passed are” the “Philippine National Railways Charter Extension – Republic Act 1063; Sangguniang Kabataan Reform Act of 2015 – Republic Act 10742l” and six other laws.
That’s plain loony. Neither Robredo nor any House of Representatives member nor any senator can pass a law. It is the majority of the House members that passes after a third presentation (called a “reading”) of a proposed bill, which is then sent to the Senate, which undertakes a similar process.
If both chambers pass the bill, it is then enacted into law by the President of the Philippines, who can veto it. It is only in this sense that only the president can claim to “pass a law.” But this is high-school stuff. Yet Robredo doesn’t seem to know or understand it.
Leni is certainly deluded, if she thinks she passed those eight laws.
To give her the benefit of the doubt, I will assume that she meant that passing a law means being the principal author of those bills. Indeed, check out the biographies of senators in that chamber’s official website, and you’d read, for example, Sen. Panfilo Lacson bragging that he was the “principal sponsor and one of the authors” of laws passed and sent to the Senate. In the section for members of the House of Representative, they list bills they principally authored, or were co-authors of. Not even House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco claims in his section that he “passed” any law.
Leni is lying through her teeth. Among the eight laws she claims to have “passed,” she is the principal author in just one ho-hum bill, in 2015 or last leg of President Aquino 3rd’s term, when she probably begged the House leaders to give her a bill to be the principal author of, so she could claim at least one accomplishment.
This bill, of which she was principal author, was Republic Act 10708, pompously titled the Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act. It’s merely a system to enable the finance department “to monitor, review and analyze the economic impact of tax incentives.” Many wonder if that bill was even necessary.
Of course, Leni is a “co-author” in seven of the other bills she claims to have “passed.” But she’s just one of dozens of co-authors of these bills. “Co-author” of a bill in the House of Representatives means nothing. Either a congressman asked the author to have her or his name included in the bill as a favor, so he or she can claim she or he did some work in Congress. A “co-author” most of the time doesn’t even help in the crafting or defense of the bill at the hearings, but is merely an assurance to the principal author she would vote for it.
Of course, we can just imagine that Leni has the noblest values, as her supporters do, epitomized by a painting posted by a Pinkalawan on Facebook that depicted her with Jesus Christ by her side addressing an assembly of believers. We assume she didn’t write that section on her work in the 16th Congress, or that she didn’t review it, so she’s not responsible for it.
But then that would mean a lazy person, so indolent she doesn’t even bother to check her short biography in the official website of the Office of the Vice President. And it didn’t even cross her mind that by running for president, her entire life would be subject to the minutest scrutiny by voters and of course curious writers like me? What if she became president, and her executive secretary asks her to just sign a proclamation putting all of the Philippines under martial law, and she’s so lazy to read it?
C’mon, I think she wrote that biography herself, especially about her work in Congress. She wants to fool people that she herself is responsible for eight “important” Philippine laws.
Fooling people in fact has been a feature of her campaign propaganda. In one ad posted in Facebook, she is shown with her daughters, with the caption that one has a Harvard University diploma, the second has a biomolecular science degree from New York University, while the third is a doctor of medicine granted by Ateneo School of Medicine.
The caption for Robredo reads: “Doctor of Laws, Doctor of Humanities, Doctor of Public Administration.” That’s so misleading it is a lie.
Those are awards, honorary titles given by educational institutions, not real doctorate degrees, given as a way to honor somebody whom the university considers is worthy of some honor. The truthful term should either be Doctor of Humanities, honoris causa, or more straightforward, Honorary Doctor of Humanities.
More often than not, these are given because of substantial financial donations from the awardee (which is why not a few tycoons have such titles) or as a favor asked of the university by some big donor or politician. There are of course instances in which a personality is given that honorary degree for some spectacular achievement. Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was given back in 2009 an honorary doctorate of humanities by the Southwestern University of Cebu.
Pacman deserves that award. I don’t think Robredo does. She was given the honorary “Doctor of Humanities” by the University of Saint Anthony in Camarines Sur and the Doctor of Laws by the University of the Cordilleras, both in 2017, when she was already vice president. How could she be given that Doctor of Laws honorary title when, even if her father was a judge, she flunked her first bar exam? The second Red university in the country (after UP), the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, also gave her the honorary “Doctor in Public Administration” in 2015.
Lying since 2017
Remember that in March 2017, in a video message to a United Nations event, she lied: “We are now looking at some very grim statistics: since July last year, more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions.”
That was a shameful, unforgivable lie. The vice president of the Philippines lying to the world that her own government in just a few months’ time has summarily executed 7,000 people?
At that time, the police reported only 2,555 killed in the anti-drug war: that 7,000 figure was first disseminated by Rappler, another shameless spreader of lies. That website distorted a police report that the total number of those killed — for whatever causes or types of incidents, even domestic violence — from July 1, 2016 to January 2017 was 7,080. Four years later, in September 2021, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency — which is separate from the Philippine National Police — reported the death toll of the anti-drug war at 6,191, still lower than Robredo’s 7,000.
Isn’t there some Comelec regulation which can be interpreted that if a candidate betrayed the country — which Leni did by spreading her lies about the nation to the world — she is disqualified to aspire for the highest post of the land?
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