BACOLOD CITY: Former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela has defended Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo against Assistant Secretary Lorraine Marie Badoy, who had called Robredo in her Facebook account a “biseng basurera” (a Vice President or VP who collects garbage).
Coscolluela, a staunch supporter of Robredo during the May 2016 elections, said “it was so true to form that even as Vice President, Leni would look for hand-me-downs to furnish her daughter’s apartment in Boston.”
“So sad then, that her frugality, instead of being praised and used as a model to be emulated, has instead been bashed, and by no less than an Asst. Secretary of DSWD, which exists to serve the very same people that VP Leni has been serving throughout her professional and now public life. I have to ask, ‘Nasaan kaya ang tunay na basura [Where is the real garbage]?’” the former governor posted on his personal Facebook account on Saturday.
“Asst.” stands for “Assistant” and DSWD for “Department of Social Welfare and Development.”
Badoy in her blog slammed Robredo for helping her eldest daughter Aika rummage through her neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, for second-hand furniture for her apartment.
Aika will be entering Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Edward S. Mason Fellow.
The government official said, “The stark imagery of the Vice President picking on a pile of America’s castoffs, though, on the other hand, just makes me burn in shame. Put me in the international arena and like I said, I become real mayabang [braggart]about our country.”
“Leni Robredo doesn’t have a keen appreciation of the weight of that office–except where her political ambitions lie. That’s about it for her. Nothing for country. Just her and her partymates,”Badoy said.
She added, “That’s what this shameful VP just did to us here. She shows us, in such stark imagery, what role she loves to play: America’s basurera who relentlessly tries to bring our country down by doing the dirty job for her American masters: from Loida Lewis to the out-of-touch-stuck-in-the-70s ex-Pinoys she hobnobs with who think it is their goddamn right to not only talk down on us —but, too, to try to bring down a duly-elected President of the Republic.”
Coscolluela in his post recalled an anecdote on the values of the Robredos.
He said, “The first time I visited Mayor Jess in his office, I kidded him about his conference table which, having obviously seen better days, needed replacement or kahit man lang [even if only]repairs. And I ‘chided’ him about the mossy glass walls at the side of the stairs and asked if he wasn’t considering a ‘beautification’ plan for City Hall. He chuckled good-naturedly and said, with no trace of false modesty, that his priorities lay elsewhere. ‘Marami pang problema ang mas importante,’ he said. Feeling properly chastised, I suggested that perhaps City Hall just needed a woman’s touch, and could his wife perhaps lend a hand? Without batting an eyelash, Jess said, ‘One Robredo in City Hall is enough.’”
Jess is the nickname of Jesse Robredo, the Vice President’s husband who became mayor of Naga City, Camarines Sur, and who was the Interior secretary until his death in a plane crash a few years ago.
Coscolluela said, “When I eventually met Leni in their residence, she struck me with her lack of ‘airs’ or sense of self-importance. Simpleng-simple lang talaga. I learned later that her time was spent not in meddling in the affairs of City Hall but in providing legal assistance to the poor. And their modest home did not have the trappings or smell of power, wealth or privilege. No wonder, I thought then, why the Robredos were loved and respected by their constituents.”
EUGENE Y. ADIONG