• Leni Robredo’s betrayal of the Filipino people

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    ANTONIO P. CONTRERAS

    THE betrayal could never have been more painful than when she revealed to the international community raw and unverified information alleging a serious matter which is damaging not only to the President but to the reputation of the entire country and every Filipino. What makes the betrayal more callous is that she further made preposterous claims that painted our country as a failed state, where laws are no longer operating, and where institutions have broken down, leaving her no other option but to run to the UN for succor and relief.

    What made the act unforgivable is that the one who betrayed us is no other than Maria Leonora Gerona Robredo, the one who currently acts as Vice President, or at least until the electoral protest doubting her election will be finally resolved.

    Under the 1987 Constitution, betrayal of public trust is considered as a ground for impeachment of qualified officials, in addition to culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption and other high crimes.

    The Supreme Court, in Gonzales vs. Office of the President, et al. (G.R. No. 196231) and Sulit vs Ochoa et al. (G.R. No. 196232), promulgatedon September 4, 2012, has defined betrayal of public trust. According to the court, citing the Constitutional Commission, it refers to “acts which are just short of being criminal but constitute gross faithlessness against public trust, tyrannical abuse of power, inexcusable negligence of duty, favoritism, and gross exercise of discretionary powers.”

    The court recognized that betrayal of public trust can be easily abused, and can be appropriated to justify impeaching any public official on the basis of just any conceivable misconduct or negligence. Hence, it ruled that “acts that should constitute betrayal of public trust as to warrant removal from office may be less than criminal but must be attended by bad faith and of such gravity and seriousness as the other grounds for impeachment.” The court also took cognizance of the intent of the framers of the Constitution that good faith and human error can be invoked to negate an allegation of betraying public trust.

    Leni Robredo’s irresponsible disclosure is not a product of human error, but a deliberate action aimed at calling the attention of the UN, through a video to be presented in a forum sponsored by an NGO, with the hope that such could be taken up in the more formal UN meeting on narcotics.

    The context within which such act emerged reveals the grossness of the bad faith. Robredo is at the forefront in criticizing the President, yet her right to speak is never curtailed. She knew that our legal institutions still operate, and that we are not a failed state. She could have informed the police authorities of the details, and not just the existence, of her allegation about “palitulo.” She had all internal remedies available to seek justice, to punish erring police officers, and to shield innocent citizens from abusive officials. She did not have to go to an international forum.

    The court ruled that the ground for betrayal of public trust must be in the same gravity as the other grounds. Treason is one of the grounds for impeachment, except that we cannot use treason since we are not in a state of war with other countries.

    However, it is clear that our country and our President are now facing hostility from the international media community, and from global organizations such as the UN and the EU. It is a fact that international news and opinion columns derogatory to the President and painting our country in a bad light have systematically emerged and are prevalent. The UN, through its officials, has repeatedly aired criticisms. And just recently, the EU, in a clear sign of neo-imperialist, neo-colonialist interventionism, has treated us like a vassal state, undermining our sovereignty by intruding into our authority to implement our own criminal laws relative to Senator Leila de Lima.

    It is in this context that Leni Robredo’s betrayal, her audacious abandoning of her oath of office to protect the interest of the country, by taking her unfounded accusations to a world forum that is already hostile to our interests, has acquired a gravity equivalent to the act of treason.

    Leni Robredo appears to cling to her position as Vice President, which is evident in her dilatory moves vis-à-vis the electoral protest of Senator Bongbong Marcos. However, while she is determined to hold on to it, she does not act in ways to convince us that she deserves the position.

    The Constitution and the courts may not have mentioned one empirical indicator of betrayal of public trust. Betrayal is reflected on the hatred of the public she betrayed. And it is clear that a significant majority of that public despise Leni Robredo. She is now seen as an enemy of the people.

    While this may not count in an impeachment proceeding, it is the unkindest cut of all.

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    19 Comments

    1. We worry about the image VP Lobredo has painted of the country due to the president’s war on drugs. The image, supposedly painted by the VP, is supplementary. The country’s image worldwide, in the EU & in the UN has already been tarnished. Need I go to the gory details of the EJK and the mismanagement of the police on the war on drugs? Before VP Lobredo sent out that video, the Philippines has been bookmarked internationally because of apparent human rights violations.

    2. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

      Leni ha started digging her political grave. While in office, what she could have done best is to find out the mystery behind her husband’s death. Her husband is crying for justice. God bless the Philippines.

    3. Matter of perspective yan Prof Contreras. What about the betrayal of the Filipino People by the President? Wala bang basis? If you can find basis for impeachment against the VP, surely you can find basis for the impeachment of the President. The only difference is that the President controls both the House and Senate. By numbers yes! By form and substance? I don’t think so. And please, cut the crap! There is nothing new in substance that the VP spoke about that the UN, US, EU, Amnesty International and other Human Rights Group and foreign as well as local media have not spoken or written about earlier. So how can the VP betray anything that the world has already known? Why? Because she is a Filipino and a government official so she is not suppose to validate what apparently the whole world already knows? Really? The VP does not serve under the pleasure of the President so she should be free to express her opinion di ba? If she was still in the Cabinet, then you would have had a point. I did not know that validating what is already exposed counts as betrayal of public trust. But then again, that is a matter of interpretation for the legal experts which you or I do fall into. As for the misinterpretation of the “palit ulo”? Why don’t you ask those poor people the VP spoke to. Please, if you even have the soundness of mind, the scenario spoken about is not entirely impossible. If police men can kill a Mayor already in jail and in custody and plant evidence as proven by the investigation of the NBI and by the DOJ, what else is impossible. Excuse me! Please, let us not insult each other’s intelligence. You may be a professor but your partisan opinion has robbed you of objectivity and hence your credibility. Had you been at the very least at the level of the shadow of academicians like Asst. Prof. Richard Haydarian of DLSU, you may have commanded even just a bit of credibility and perhaps respect from both sides of the isle. Hmmm.

    4. Impeach Leni Robredo, then we will see how many people will behind her. I want to see the number of her supporter, even just one-fourth who voted her all over the country. I want to see if Naga will raise up to support her, I want to see if #Nagaleak is true or no.

    5. Leni Robredo must be impeached as soon as Congress reconvenes in May. As a Filipino I am very much embarrassed at the malice with which she portrayed my country. She certainly betrayed my trust as I am sure the public’s trust as well.

    6. She instigated, acted in bad faith, officially with OVP seal in the background to add legitimacy of her claims.
      Now, ok fine. Let them argue free speech and criticise. But when her action led to the corresponding economic sanctions just announced but she urge to meddle in our sovereign affairs. She completed and gave life to the crime.

    7. Leopoldo Mayo on

      Vice President Leny Robredo’s letter to DILG Secretary Ismael Sueño asking for voluminous details about the government’s campaign against illegal drugs is very badly written and lacks even the very basics of official courtesy. It doesn’t properly state the intended purpose for which the very sensitive information being requested was to be used, and definitely does not justify the unstated ultimate objective for which it was intended and was in fact used–to accuse, humiliate, and embarrass the Duterte administration in the international community. Indeed, had VP Robredo and her staff been more circumspect and responsible about the information they needed, they would have realized that it was not the sort of thing that can be cavalierly asked and discussed in a sly, cryptic letter like that but formally taken up in a properly convened and scheduled conference with President Duterte and the cabinet members concerned. As it is, there should absolutely be no doubt in a right-thinking mind that VP Robredo really wanted to play with fire and to set the whole issue ablaze–and how! For this, I think, VP Robredo needs to be impeached outright not just for maliciously usurping a function that is definitely not within her authority as vice president, not just for betraying the public trust, but for irresponsible behavior bordering on childishness.

    8. Classic Ton-Ton. The well of bright and scholarly ideas is running dry. Notice he ventured into a field of discussion he is not fully trained or competent on — law, (specifically impeachment and the betrayal of public trust). His claim to “legitimacy” is fantastic — based on questionable facts, doubtful legal grounds and off tangent arguments. Just reflect, if these happens inside the classroom — the quality of education suffers.

      For now, I will amuse myself with his newly acquired (temporary) “proficiency” – after all as they say “bigay hilig” — except to say what he wrote is nothing out of the ordinary — just nitpicking.

      For after all this article once again is symptomatic of his typical outdated style of reasoning – pick a political theory and twist it to discredit the VP. As they say in Bicol “bistado” na siya.

      I will not dwell on what betrayal is – more so on what he wrote on “public betrayal” – where “public” connotes “collective” “common” or “shared” belief. I believe he is wrong in attaching the word to the actions of the VP.

      What is wrong with expressing the truth?

      When you see the drug problem not turning out the desired positive results as it should be – just body bags (no high profile or celebrity arrested – ONLY THE POOR) or when lawlessness is presented to be contained but in reality the opposite.

      Imagine after an extensive investigation, police officers are finally arrested for killing a mayor (they were armed with a dubious arrest warrant) knowing full well the suspect is incarcerated in jail (see any collusion between law enforcers and officers of the court?) or a Korean businessman kidnapped and killed by police officers inside Camp Crame — several steps away from the office of the PNP Chief!

      Unbelievable.

      Or, when PNP seeks a justification (or proof) for complaints brought to the Office of the Vice President – the second highest office in the land because these citizens fear for their safety. When you see these things then something is terribly wrong — a breakdown of trust.

      My gosh, has the PNP forgotten the VP (and not just the President) was sworn into office to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law?

      Isn’t it normal protocol for the police to investigate at the slightest incidence of disorder and disturbance? That’s their job. Their lethargic inaction on reports from the OVP’s is deafening. If the OVP cannot get (automatic or instantaneous) response from the PNP who can? It is definitely very frustrating.

      VP Leni took a solemn oath to put public (and the nation’s) interest first and foremost. She will not betray this.

      She did not lie — like others who lied with their citizenship (another one is brewing on the horizon) or someone who spoke one thing only to be contradicted or corrected by a superior or — surprisingly, a subordinate — or even expect for us to treat a serious matter as a joke?

      She told the truth. Plain and simple. And, there are those who do not want to hear it.

      Salamat.

      • If VP Leni does not have the facts, how can she tell the truth? What is transparent are the high hands that manipulate her, push her, and cavort her to the UN stage to paint a grim picture of our country in a state of chaos and lawlessness. Is that the truth?

        For her part, she was promised the top seat if she will play and act as told, portray the naive wife like Cory, and pretend that all she wanted was to keep her pledge to the Constitution. You see, some paid writers are so wily in their composition and twisted logic. They are good, I bet you. But you can always smell them a mile away.

      • Nigel of Makati on

        Thank you Professor Contreras for our enlightenment. Thank you for telling the truth, and nothing but the truth. May your tribe increase.

      • With what the VP has done, one does not need to be a lawyer to see the betrayal!! SHAMEFUL!!!

      • @Gabby, have you ever seen the movie Zootopia? I implore you to watch it (using the word “implore” instead of “encourage” because you use the English language like an elitist – also using the word elitist instead “snob” – same diff).

        Leni is like the police officer bunny in Zootopia. Her video addressed to the UN is like the seen in Zootopia when the bunny, at this stage of the film thought to have solved the crime and faced the media for the first time. In her interview process she criminalized all “predators” as it appeared only predators turns savage. Her defense, “I’m just telling the truth.”

        Now I’m not about to spoil the ending. However, you might like to know that her “truth” was not exactly right but in her “telling the truth” f**ked up the whole world in the process.

        When you see over a million criminals (by definition those who broke the law) turn themselves in, you should be proud of the Filipinos who love their country so deeply they made it happen. It is a feat no other country can replicate, Mexico is watching in jealousy. Is it a humanitarian crisis? Yes it is, due to the sheer number of criminals versus penitentiaries and rehabs in the Philippines. Killings were bound to happen, as would in any State brave enough to declare war on drugs and criminality. Mexico is watching enviously.

        You’ve posted many questions. Rhetorical they may be.. but you fail to ask the question that really matters in regards to VP Leni’s speech. Do you believe in the Philippines as a sovereign State and its Constitution, is a law abiding State not needing foreign intervention to handle its own political and economic hurdles? VP Leni has embarrassed the country and its people. Her actions are 100% unpatriotic. Yet you defend her. Don’t you have faith in Filipinos? Do you not believe we are more than capable, even more so capable than foreigners, to deliver fairness and justice, especially on home soil?

        Your comment offends me, same with everyone else who fails to recognize VP Leni’s video to UN is 100% betrayal of public trust. Beyond reasonable doubt.

    9. I watched the Leni video and certainly feel betrayed. A sitting VP gave the world false facts and blackened the reputation of the PH on the world stage. She hurt the PH.

    10. mikhail hieronymus on

      The Vice-President must be worried that Bong-Bong Marcos will be declared winner of the position in his protest. She wants to be the president before that happen.

      Another scenario might be that Duterte’s political enemies are using her for their purpose. She is a willing stooge, because she will benefit if the case prosper and become successful. She is too naïve and ambitious.

      • jess nazario on

        Maybe ambitious” can forgivable but “naive”, OMG ! A naive President ? We just had one from 2010 to 2016. Do we want another one of such kind ? OMG x googleplex !

      • jess nazario on

        By the way, a googleplex or a googol is a number equal to 10 raised to 10 raised to 100 or 1 followed by 100 zeros.