Now officially the Vice President of the Philippines, Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo may have missed one golden opportunity to assert herself during her inauguration on Thursday as holder of the second-highest job in the land by just repeating what she had promised the electorate during the for the May elections.
In her inaugural speech at the renovated Boracay Mansion in New Manila, Quezon City, she called on her supposed mass base, the poor, to join her in “another” journey.
In her speech, Robredo again committed to lift the poor from what she called the laylayan, or fringes of society, where Filipinos majority of whom are impoverished, can be found.
To drive home the point, she took her oath of office before a barangay (village) captain from the poorest part of her home province of Camarines Sur, which she had represented as a lawmaker in Congress.
Robredo already promised a better life for marginalized Filipinos in the run-up to the recent polls.
Critics said the former congresswoman could have voiced her readiness and willingness to serve all Filipinos, a role that she could only play to the fullest by making herself available to the Office of the President.
She seemed to have resigned to President Rodrigo Duterte ignoring her as his Vice President.
During his separate inauguration also on Thursday, Duterte made no mention at all of Robredo in his short speech.
Past administrations saw the nation’s female No. 2 official being named Social Work and Development secretary.
Robredo was emotional when she took her oath as the 14th Vice President.
“Ang sandaling ito ay hindi lamang tungkol sa akin. Ito ang ating pagkakataong maisama ang mga nasa laylayan ng lipunan tungo sa maginhawang buhay sa mas malawak na paraan. Sa isang katulad nating nakikipagpulong sa riles ng tren, natutulog sa bangka at sumasakay sa habal-habal para maabot ang ating mga pinaglilingkuran, ito ay isang malaking biyaya para lalo pang makapaglingkod (This is not only for me. This is our opportunity to be with those in the fringes of society. For someone like me who met people on trains, slept on bancas and rode the habal habal to reach the far-flung areas, this [Vice Presidency] is an opportunity to be even better at public service),” she said, referring to her former life as a lawyer for the poor.
“Kailangan nating gawin ang tama para sa karamihan, hindi lang sa iilan. Ang katapatan ay dapat ibigay sa ating pinangakuang pagsisilbihan kahit labag ito sa pansariling interes.
Namulat tayo sa ganitong uri ng pagsisilbi at itutuloy natin habang tayo’y nabubuhay (We need to do what is right for all. We should be honest to those whom we have an oath to serve, even if it is contrary to our interests. I have seen this kind of service for so long and I will continue to do it),” Robredo pointed out.
“Hindi natin hahayaang mapigilan tayo ng ano mang balakid upang makapagsilbi (We won’t let obstacles get in the way of service),” she said, adding that her office will be open to people from all walks of life.
Robredo called on the public and private sector to join her in improving the lives of the poor.
“We can’t waste time. Our cooperation will be the most effective investment. Kapag naninindigan tayo para sa mga pinaniniwalaan natin, kapag handa nating pagsakripisyuhan ang ating mga layunin, ang imposible ay kinakayang gawing posible (When we stand firm on our principles, when we are ready to make sacrifices for our goals, we can make the impossible, possible),” Robredo said.