IT has been a while since I have written something about Leni Robredo. I made a promise that I will give myself a break. Commenting on Leni’s public conduct is like critiquing a poorly crafted B-movie. It became an unnecessary preoccupation that took so much time away from more productive endeavors.
Leni is such an unpopular political figure. A phalanx of angry faces frantically floats across the screen from right to left every time her face appears. Her radio program gets very little views on video-streaming, that at one time it took her three days to pass the 1,000mark.
And her supporters seem to have abandoned her. Her alleged 14 million voters could have easily swamped her shows with views and hearts and likes, enough to crowd out the angry faces. But it seems that aside from the rabidly loyal, or the paid anonymous social media accounts, she has been practically left to suffer while her spinners conjure lame stories to prop her up.
I felt that if I left her alone she would self-destruct.
So, I thought moving to other issues that are more important to the life of the nation would make me forget her.
And there are just so many, like the threats from terrorism, or from a House of Representatives on the warpath, or from a Catholic Church that would like to police what we read, or from Senator Joel Villanueva who wants to legislate truth.
But Leni Robredo is like an unwanted gift that keeps on giving.
So, I will break my promise today. I want to give her some advice. She should fire her PR team, and hire a crisis communication specialist like Olivia Pope.
She should also consider taking some time off to learn the gift of silence. She needs this to recover from her US trip that has turned into a PR disaster of her own doing.
She went to the US and attended a lavish, pompous, opulent party in Los Angeles which in fact was thrown to honor music, with her as the guest of honor. It was a fund-raising campaign not for any political reason, but simply for the benefit of the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra (FASO), and yet she had to be accommodated to speak about her political agenda.
She wore an elegant, blue gown, designed to look like a throwback to when Marie Antoinette was queen, if we judge by the upswept, cantilevered look of its backside.
There was no doubt. With at least a $300 price tag per plate, the FASO event wrote opulence so clear that only the dense would not know that it was an expensive elitist occasion, a far cry from the “laylayan” from which Leni drew her political slogan.
And this was at a time when Marawi was burning, people were dying and the nation under serious threat from terrorist rebels.
The contrast was so palpable that one doesn’t need to be a genius to know that her presence in that gathering was just so off on many counts.
There was practically no local coverage of the event by traditional media. Unfortunately for her, the hostile crowd was not there, but in the uncontrollable inhabitants of social media who simply hate her.
Actually, I would not have minded much her partying in LA. And in my book, I even personally found as overly nitpicking those who criticized her for attending to her daughter who was enrolling at Harvard. I would have done the same thing if it were my children. She even made me realize that there is something in her that is admirable, and that is in her being a loving parent. After all, being a parent has no expiration date.
But for a woman who tends to shoot herself in the mouth, Leni Robredo just could not stop talking.
On her radio program upon her return, she practically negated her winning moment of being a caring mother by telling us that in order to be so she had to spend two days with her daughter scavenging for usable stuff from heaps of Boston garbage.
This is the moment that really bothered me. It was just too much that it came from someone who wore an opulent dress at a lavish party in LA, and who could afford to pay for an expensive Harvard education for her daughter. It is simply so outlandishly grotesque that she would now make us believe that she would go over garbage bins in Boston to scavenge for plates, and spoons and forks, and comforters, and hangers, and alarm clocks, and an old TV set, if she was lucky.
Leni Robredo forgot that there are many Filipinos like me who studied in the US, or who lived there, or continue to live there, who simply could not find it in our hearts to refer to recycling centers, and help-yourself counters as a “basurahan.”
The image of partying in LA wearing an expensive blue gown, side by side with that of her and her daughter acting like hobos digging into garbage bins in Boston, is just too much of a story to digest.
It is simply a hard sell at a time when our soldiers are fighting a war and dying in Marawi.