Laylayan politics was another way of putting light to the underprivileged. It was a way of gaining traction with the masses thereby propelling their own leader on a bigger platform to advocate and fight for them. If poverty incidence is at 26%, then those who are poor could run up to approximately 28.6 million Filipinos. A huge constituent if only their champions truly work for them once elected in office.
Imagine cutting 2% annually from the 26%? That makes poverty incidence go to 14% by the end of the six-year term, right? Certainly, within the Asean average. So do you work hard for it and stay the course or play politics because those around keep saying, “we can do it much better.”
The sad part is that after one is elected, the holder of power suddenly forgets why one is selected and elected by the very people who are part of the so-called laylayan. After six months, Leni Robredo must pause and discern if she has remained the Leni people helped to get elected from the so-called “1% to victory in 90 days.” Is Leni still the embodiment of the Robredo ideals? You see, those who elected her as Vice President (and yes technically, she has been proclaimed and I do not know how a source can make her believe that someone will “steal the Vice Presidency”) got to know her first because of Jesse’s death and second, because she was the embodiment of Jesse.
And I will lay it on the line that part of election narrative was to go straight to the people as Robredo (mahusay at matino) and that she is strong as a Robredo first than a Roxas-Robredo. That she has to be strong on her own in order to carry the mantle and work out a strategy to carry the tandem. The less she is seen as yellow, the better for the various groups waiting on the sidelines to support her. So much has happened at the backrooms that LP can’t claim Robredo won because of them (and you forgot the planned dumping and even the Roxas-Marcos Hail Mary pass?) Well, at least the rise to a competitive level by April was not theirs to brag alone. As to the endgame, that is something for LP to prove at the Electoral Tribunal level.
Yes, part of the mix of support was a combination of rainbow colors by the last two weeks of the campaign period. Robredo was carried across various tandems because by that time, she was the better candidate for VP (people’s lawyer, no dirt after a term, no historical baggage, no skeletons). And those young yellow tribes then and today would not even know the groundwork that happened when they arrogantly claimed she won because of LP. From the start, a political nickname of “Daang Matuwid” was a sure kiss of death and LP prepared her Certificate of Nomination with such a nickname, just like Roxas (now the hundreds of millions used to prop Daang Matuwid was the stretch to get the ticket to win? Really?) If you need to learn a thing or two in campaign politics, yes, the soundbites matter but the ground need to hold for a national candidate to win and that my dear is still transactional. And that does not mean cash! You have to have your ears on the ground. No cash, you go with what Robredo stood for. No cash, you go with who the people actively supports. No cash, you look for a name that gives a candidate a political glow.
And Jesse kept saying before, “lagi ko pong sinabi na itinaas na natin ang antas o sukat ng paglilingkod. Hindi na sapat na tayo ay matino lamang. Hindi rin sapat na tayo at mahusay lamang. Hindi lahat ng matino ay mahusay, at lalo namang hindi lahat ng mahusay ay matino. Ang dapat ay matino at mahusay upang karapat dapat tayong pagkatiwalaan ng pera ng bayan.” True and that was part of the endearing qualities of Leni. She was Jesse until she won the Vice Presidency!
Is Leni now a shadow of her true self? Is she now just a puppet of a political class who thinks they are God’s gift to the nation since they have removed a president in 1986; selected and elected their own candidates since 1992; impeached a president in 2002 and tried all possible means to remove a sitting president from 2004 to 2010? Would Leni be a willing member of a cabal of “soldiers” aiming high to snatch the presidential throne? What have you become Leni? Or Madame Vice President? That you can do more than what a Duterte accomplished in six months? So what do you plan to do with the hot issues of the day?
Jesse in a rare interview once talked about his wife and answered the calls of allowing her to run and take his place, “may sariling buhay ang misis ko. Hindi ’yan asawa lang ng mayor. Alam niya ang gusto niyang gawin.” That rings loud and I hope it has nothing to do with the removal of a duly elected president.
True, and that was also seen clearly by the parallel group known as Samahan Tsinelas, “sa pamamagitan ng tsinelas, hinihikayat ng mag-asawang Robredo ang mga nasa baba, labas at laylayan ng lipunan para maging partner sa pamamahala. Importante sa kanila na ang boses ng mga mahihirap ay kabahagi ng pagbubuo at pagpapatakbo ng mga programa, serbisyo at aktibidad ng pamahalaan na napapakinabangan lalo na iyong mga walang-wala sa buhay.” So why was it all glamor and glitz packaging in the last six months? Someone even commented, “artistahin na si Mam!” Meanwhile the laylayan was relegated at the background. Waiting to be integrated with other support groups after election, nothing happened. The database was offered but no follow through. Asked about the plans, no clear directives. Samahang Tsinelas was disbanded for we cannot be purveyors of false hopes, right?
It shows that the laylayan was not even a factor in her decision to resign as Housing head for if it were, one would have sought a face-to-face meeting with PRRD and clarified things for the sake of that base. Six months to a six-year term and you relegate yourself to only a spare tire, what a waste!
So was it hubris that got piqued when she was told not to attend cabinet meetings? That it was very Vice Presidential to do releases before resigning? That sharing a text from the CabSec was the way to go? With the myriad reasons offered daily and the messaging somersaulting at fast clip, nothing held because the reasons offered became the quicksand that proved her being too naive or worse, too raw.
Part of Ramon Magsaysay’s credo were: “I believe that government starts at the bottom and moves upward, for government exists for the welfare of the masses of the nation. I believe that he who has less in life should have more in law. I believe that the little man is fundamentally entitled to a little bit more food in his stomach, a little more cloth in his back and a little more roof over his head. I believe that this nation is endowed with a vibrant and stout heart, and possesses untapped capabilities and incredible resiliency…” and so much more. This credo echoes more and more today as never before. From 1986 to 2010, these were promises made by every president, today and especially by 2017 (under a Duterte budget), we continue to observe if the promises made are fulfilled just as in the last six months.
Madame Vice President, you were elected on a narrative that only you had but you need to break from the stronghold and be with the ordinary people who helped you win a remarkable victory. Until PET decides otherwise, you are Vice President of the Republic. Stay the course. Fight for your base. Enough with the glitzy magazines and covers. Find common ground with PRRD and if you can’t personally think about the laylayan who are counting on you. Expose yourself to other people. Do not be in your safe and comfortable zone. Remove your cordon. Find your core and you will find the leader people voted for. Five years and six months to go is long to be just a spare tire. Think of institutions, build institutions. Help carry the load. At the end, you will be measured by what you do with power.
And please, never be the reason when people say, “I told you so.”