Leni Robredo just doesn’t get it

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ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

LENI Robredo thinks that commiserating from New York would be enough.

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On December 22, weather forecasters already said that Tropical Storm Nock Ten brewing in the Pacific was going to become a full-blown typhoon with near-Category 4 winds and was tracked to enter the Philippine area of responsibility.

Leni Robredo is from Camarines Sur. But she had other plans for the holidays. She and her three daughters were scheduled to fly to New York on December 23, the day when storm trackers released the forecast that the storm, later named as Typhoon Nina, would make landfall in the Bicol Region, particularly in the vicinity of the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Sur on Christmas Day.

Despite this, Leni Robredo, a woman who not too long ago said that disaster risk management is beyond giving relief goods, and who was quoted as saying that “it is really important for the local folks to see their government officials during and right after any disaster,” left for New York with her brood. The call of the Big Apple was more compelling and Typhoon Nina could not make her abort it.

It is in this context that I truly admire the tenacity of my fellow Bicolanos who still went home to be with their loved ones for Christmas despite knowing about the coming storm. I also admire those who continue to go home to be with them in its aftermath despite knowing about the inconveniences of lack of electricity, phone signals and even water.

And they had to brave the atrocious traffic going into several Quezon towns like Gumaca and Lopez, whose urban designs seem to have been left behind by the demands of a commuting public. And they have to suffer the five to six hours of inhuman gridlock in the Quirino Highway, an otherwise rural countryside but through which a supposed-to-be idyllic ride has been betrayed by delayed and/or ill-timed public works.

They endured all this just to be home no matter how hard the way, to be with family in times of disaster and recovery.

This is something that Leni Robredo appears not to have understood, and continue not to understand.

And her defenders are even making it worse.

Her followers point out that she has a right to go on vacation after all the hard work she has done. And this triggered a visceral reaction enough for people to ask: what hard work has she actually done?

Other apologists point out that there are agencies that are left behind to handle disaster relief efforts. They also argue that she is only the Vice President, and that she is no longer technically part of government after she was constructively dismissed as housing czar. But through her minions, she quickly took credit—a habit which she has been used to doing lately—for post-Typhoon Nina relief work when her social media operatives released a false spin that relief goods that were distributed by the DSWD in Naga City were coursed through the office of the Vice President.

Other defenders say that typhoon relief is not her job. One friend even chastised me when I cited the poor roads going into Bicol and the horrendous traffic jam on the Quirino Highway, and the post-typhoon infrastructural damage, and argued that these are not Robredo’s responsibility and that I should address my rant elsewhere.

This line of defense, which is a dominant theme adopted by her apologists, reduces the Bicolano to simply a people whose pain and inconvenience are because we suffer poor roads and typhoons.

I am from Bicol. And I was in Bicol when Nina struck.

I grew up with these roads, and I have been through typhoons as severe as this. On our own we can survive the ferocity of the winds, as my family did, collectively relying on our faith in God as we prayed for safety, and on ourselves to prevent doors from being blown away, as Typhoon Nina pounded our town, Buhi, which found itself directly in the path of destruction of the strongest winds I have ever encountered in my entire life.

We also rise up on our own, which I saw the day after as families and neighborhoods autonomously and literally picked up the pieces, cleaned up the mess, and stood up to recover, like we always do.

Bicolanos are one resilient people, and we are used to bad roads and strong typhoons.

This is not about the inconvenience of damaged infrastructure. This is not even about relief goods.

This is about “damay” and “kapwa.” This is about being there, to be with us as we have to endure and recover from the darkness, the inconvenience, the winds and the terror.

Leni Robredo herself said that it goes beyond relief goods and that it requires physical presence.

Except that she was not there. She was in New York, shopping. And all she could give now are relief goods.

Bicolanos get it. Leni Robredo doesn’t. To think that she is one of us.

antonio.contreras@manilatimes.net

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28 Comments

  1. Correct Dr. Contreras, and there more Robredo’s in our midst. What is it?…a Filipino malady.

  2. One thing na obvious pagkabasa mo nito ay hindi ako kakampi ng author at ng kung sino man ang mga kasabwat niya na mga nagcomment na pabor sa kanya – sana lahat ng mga yun ay totoong mga tao at hindi nga fictitious na mga accounts lamang.

    Are the contents of the article even worth commenting? Hindi ba obvious na biased? Ano ba mga kasalanan ni Leni sa lahat ng mga nabanggit niya: 1) trapik – sabi nga nya dahil daw sa infra, hindi naman kay Leni; 2) nagbakasyon kasama ang mga anak sa New York – malay natin baka last chance nila na makakita ng snow na magkakasama pa sila; 3) hindi nagpakita sa relief operations – di nga ba may support group si Leni na makakagawa na nun so maaari na siyang gumawa ng iba pang paraan para makatulong, perhaps not just for Bicol; can’t U get it? thinking out of the box – e kung makakuha ng mas malalaking donations dun sa New York para sa Bicol, hindi ba mas nakabuti yun?

    Can’t you glean a motive of the author? Bakit nga ba humina ang Manila Times? akala ko nga nasara na uli ito pagkatapos mabili ng crony ni Erap. It’s ownership and the integrity of the editorial staff as well as of the author is the crux of the matter – how articles like this get to print.

    To understand the present you must look into the history or past performance of Leni and her husband. Hard work? Nakarating na ba itong author na ito sa mga katutubong pinagsilbihan nina Leni sa mga liblib na pook – and incognito sila Leni noon, kaya hindi para sa sariling pagsikat ang motibo nila! Is this Bicolano author really in-tune with his fellow Bicolanos. Ah, hindi nga pala ito poor kaya hindi siya nasa concern nila Leni. You people are the ones who JUST CAN’T GET IT!

    LOOK: she is now of national stature and MUST ACT LIKE SO. She has to be the VICE PRESIDENT of the ENTIRE PHILIPPINES and not only of the Bicol Region including the paid hacks of the region (which is common globally for that matter, but are only so obvious when they are in power but not so when they are in media).

    Question: Kung alam mo na legitimate and pagkakapanalo mo at itong kalaban mo na angkan ng isa sa naging pinakacorrupt na diktador sa buong mundo ns nabububuhay at nakatandaan na ang corruption ay nakakuha na impluwensiya upang by hook or by crook at ipatangggal ka, ano ang gagawin mo – magtatrapik dun sa grid-lock? mag-mumumura sa DPWH kung bakit hindi ma-modernize at malevel-up ang infra? mamumudmod ng relief goods na kapag kinapos ang budget ng DSWD ay ikaw rin ang personal sa sisisihin at ni hindi ang pangulo na may Presidential Fund na maaaring ipandagdag?

    Kung ako nga nasakalagayan ni Leni, mamadaliin ko na maging pangulo para masolve lahat ang reklamo NYO! At itutuloy ko ang laban sa corruption, pati na ang mga bayaran na mga taga-media at ang mga buktot na mga PR practitioners or mga tinatawag na spin-doctors (mga nagkakalat ng mga kasinungalingan para sa kapakanan ng mga nagbabayad sa kanila) na nagagamit upang maimfluwensiya ang public opinion (gaya ng article) na ito.

    ACID TEST: Kung hindi nasulat ito, may mabuti bang kahihinatnan? Sa pagkakasulat nito, may nasira ba.

    Para sa kasagutan: Maliban sa 10 Commandments or sa Golden Rule man lang, tunghayan ninyo ang mga ito:
    Sa mga kilala mo na mahihirap o mga may problema – sa Manila Times, sa community ninyo, sa mga kamag-anak ninyo, sa mga taga-Bicol, ano ang mga naitulong mo na hindi mo ipinaalam sa ibang tao?

    Luke 6:37-42
    37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    Romans 2:1-3
    1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?

    Zechariah 8:16 These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;

    Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

    1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    Ephesians 4:29
    29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    John 8:7
    7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

    James 4:11-12
    11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

  3. pinag tanggol pa ng mga yellotards ang BOANG..di kami mga bobo dito..kinampihan nga ni LENI ang BOANg nga si de lima..siguro tumanggap ng pera ng druga ito si LEni..puk you LENI.

  4. Lei is a pure MONSTER she is even protecting DRUG LORD DE LIMA..filipinos did not get it that she is a mONSTERS..puk you who voted for this yellotard MONSTER.PUK NINOY clan ..and the ugly kris boang aquino..pinahiya ninyo nanay niyo..

  5. Oh c’mmon, give the VP lady a break. She and her family deserve a vacation break after the long election campaign and she has no advance knowledge that the storm over Bicol will coincide with her family vacation.

    Furthermore, Digong constructively fired her as Housing Secretary so there’s not much she can do to help. Even Digong’s expletives are useless vs the force of nature. She can commiserate with her country folks when she arrives; who knows, she may come back home re-charged with energy and ideas more sublime and practicable than Digong’s bastosism.. .

  6. When a person is working in the government especially those in the high echelon like the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House, Chief Justice, you already belong to the people and your main responsibility is to serve the people and your family after. There is no excuse nor reason or palusot because the people elected you to serve them first. Leni Robredo really does not get it as per statement of Prof. Contreras. First of all, one can always postpone any vacation which is not important compared to the needs of the people whom you vow to serve and protect. Surely ther airlines, the hotel, etc. will accommodate a postponement while a typhoon, an earthquake and other natural calamities cannot wait for a postponement. The apologist of Leni named Gabby is an amateur like her who makes illogical statements which does not have credibility at all. Obviously Leni herself as what many already mentioned, does not know her job especially the requirements it demands of her. Gabby better advice Leni to quit, resign because she cannot cope up. Her criticisms against Duterte obviously does not work and her habit of “pa cute” never works to the people.

  7. She should not run as VP on the first place if she doesn’t know her RESPONSIBILITY… What we need in our government ay ang mga taong MAKABAYAN like President Duterte, with selflessness

  8. I am not from Bicol but i have the heart for them for the calamity the struck them. Leni yes does not get it.
    Your moral responsiblity does not start and end with the title VP. It is your time to show the people are physically there when they need you. Just as you committed , your famous laylayan quotes. Accept the fact that Leni is not hardworking and that she is a typical laywer who will move heaven and earth to defend herself and make the wrong appear right. Tsk Tsk Tsk. leni masipag si bongbong. Worker si bongbong, Matalino si bongbong. Bongbong is not the father, we deserve someone better.

  9. Greetings Mr. Contreras,

    It is indeed unfortunate that typhoon Nina struck during the most festive time of the year – Christmas. As you said it is a time to be with family – to relive precious moments together, to renew the warm relationship you have and to gather inner spiritual strength by being with those who mean so much to you.

    You’re right , Bicolanos value being with family during this most special season and they would travel through such distance, no matter what it takes, to be with them. Like you, VP Leni shares this family value.

    Isn’t this what VP Leni did? She was with family!

    But what is sad is that you’re imputing malice on her staying with family for the holidays rather than go home. It is inconsistent with your argument promoting family bonding. You have equated her absence on site as a conscious effort on her part to intentionally neglect those affected by the typhoon – a typical mindset of classical thinkers seeking media mileage.

    That is farthest from her mind and spirit.

    That is why she mobilized her office immediately for relief. In reality, her office can attend to relief and it is going on smoothly in partnership with concerned agencies. She is virtually present and Bicolanos are aware of that through her deeds.

    Rebuilding is more challenging, tricky and will involve government infrastructure agencies – specially now she’s no longer HUDCC chair. She is on the phone working with agencies and the LGU to have a plan of attack to rebuild affected areas.

    Let me assure you she knows what she’s doing. After all she is a Bicolana. I think you know that – right?

    • She was with her family in New York, that’s the clear difference. If she has her kababayan in mind, she could have cancelled it but no, she went there to be re-united with Loida Lewis because they have an agenda to oust the President. Politics first before Filipinos.

    • you dont get it, just like the alleged vp.
      can bring the horse to the river, but can’t make the horse drink.
      full of excuses with no substantiated data to baack it up.

  10. Antonio R. Costales on

    I Always read and re read your FB Messages and Status and I love all of them! thank you for your wonderful insights!

  11. Inda ko daw dyan kay manay ? Ang presensya baga kan sarong tawo, importante. Angvgadan baga, pwede man na ilubong maski wara tawo. Pero nata ta nagdudutuman kita? Ta an presensya ta importante. Iyo man pag may birthday.

  12. Mr Contreras mas mahalaga ang byahe niya sa New York, USA kaysa sa damayan niya ang mga kababayan niyang Bicolano. Itong biyahe niya ay magkikita sila nila Loida Lewis at Leila de Lima upang i-lobby kay George Soros ang pagpapalit ng gobyerno dito sa Pilipinas. Ito ay sa kagagawan ni Loida Lewis na sinasabing ma-inpluensya sa partido ni Hillary na Democratic. Minamadali nila ito kasi paalis sa poder si Obama sa Enero 20 kasi ang susunod na pangulo na si Donald Trumph ay mukhang wala sa progama niya ang palitan si Digong. Gustong gusto na ni Leni ang maging pangulo kasi natatakot siya pati na ang mga kasamahan niya na ang magiging hatol ng PET sa protesta ni Bongbong ay hindi pabor sa kanya at ito ay talagang umuugong na sa mga sirkulo ng mga abugado. Hindi mo maiaalis na may talagang tao itong sila Leni sa Korte Suprema katulad ng punong mahistrado na si Sereno at associate justice Leonen at marahil nasabi na rin sa kanya itong napipintong resulta ng protesta kaya nagkukumahog makipagtagpo sa New York upang personal na mag apela na pairalin ang palit gobierno sa Pilipinas. Yon mga kasamang mga anak ay palamuti na lang iyon para kunwari ay talagang bakasyon at hindi pagdudahan ang totoong pakay.

  13. yan ang hirap sa iyo. umalis si leni, pupunahin nyo. kapag nandun si leni sa bicol at tumulong, sasabihan nyo nyo na namumulitika. goodness!

  14. Time and time again, Leni has been showing unabashedly where her true heart is. And it’s not even with her fellow Bicolanos. Being a VP seems to be just a title and an entitlement for her. Obviously, it’s just all about a projection of a hollow image with no substance at all. Sacrifices and selflessness are the hallmarks even of the most ordinary caring human beings. Yes, rightly so . .. Leni just doesn’t get it, not now and not ever.

  15. She cant afford to miss the people of new york ,loida lewis?..and one more thing ,while being a congresswoman from bicol did she ever fight for a budget to fix the roads going to the bicol provi ce? ,or she just sits there trying to be cute and see who will pay attention to her? Or does riding a well apportioned bus to and from makes her forget how ugly the roads are?…..

  16. julio magdiaga on

    yup dapat kumuha ng pito si robredo at nag trapic dun kung saan man ma traffic. o di kaya’y kumuha ng walis tingting at nag walis ng mga kaylyeng nasalanta tulad ng ginawa ng dating asawa na si jessie.

    tinangalan ng kapangyarihan, pero ngayon kailangan ni robredo mamuno.

    pero teka, parang hindi na declara ni duterte ang “state of clamity” kung saan man kailangan mag declara.

  17. TsekwaCojuangco on

    Leni Robredo ran for office thinking she would be treated like a queen . They old politico system . The old Spanish style “gobernadorcillo” .. You serve her instead of her serving the public . She was groomed by and financed by greedy oligarchs . The ones that makes the Philippine politics an excellent business for themselves. …
    Beware of Leni’s traitorous innocent smiles.

  18. It just goes to show that Robredo does not have the job on her mind. If she was serious enough with gaining a place in people’s mind she should have cancelled her trip. Inuna pa ang LAKWATSA. New York will always be there. Ang bagyo dumadaan lang. Kaya parang dinaanan nang bagyo ang career ni Leni. This will have a lasting impression on her. She is too selfish to serve in the government. Her friends in New York could have understood – as it is always DUTY FIRST. She is so light minded to take her job seriously. If she wants people to take her seriously she should do her job very well hindi parang pang dekorasyong lang – at least decorations have it’s purpose.

  19. Sir, I always admire your guts to write facts even though it hurts. In the case of Leni, I wonder where she got the thick skin to cover her face after all the lies about her capability to unite the opposition. Such blatant insults to the rest of the LP’s which infact lead them to more disunity and chaos. No way that leni is qualified to be the voice of the opposition. Besides, she has nothing to show of any accomplishments and works that supports her claim to be a new leader and unifier of the LP’s. How I wish there will be a recounting of ballots in the contested areas to prove once and for all if she is really the real vp elected by the people. I myself have doubts about her being the winner last May election. My new year wish will be the recounts of ballots and that PET will act with haste about this issue. God Bless you Sir and continue writing.It perks up my day especially in cold and wintry weather.