The Liberal Party (LP)’s vice-presidential bet Leni Robredo is being groomed as the torch bearer of PNoy’s “daang matuwid” ideology in the next administration should she emerge victorious in next week’s national elections. Her victory will be the toehold for the LP to maintain its political influence in a post-PNoy administration, in the event of Roxas’ defeat.
A Robredo win becomes more crucial for the LP in a Duterte presidency. She will definitely be positioned as a calmer, more refined alternative to the tough-as-nails Duterte. And given the recent threat by Sen. Antonio Trillanes to impeach the Davao mayor should the Davao mayor win the May 9 elections, a triumphant Robredo surely can and will be gussied up by PNoy’s LP confederates as a possible successor to Duterte if the latter is removed from office.
But for that to be viable, Robredo has to undergo a makeover. In the words of Sen. Serge Osmeña, the LP’s vice-presidential bet is “going to be attractive” if she is “packaged properly and she develops the right message.”
That makeover has already begun. We are witness to the “Cory-fication” of Robredo, led by no other than the children of former president Cory Aquino. The eldest Aquino child even compared Robredo to Cory saying that “like my mom, Leni was just a housewife, but both of them believed that when the time came to do something for the country, they could not look at themselves in the mirror if they turned their backs on that chance to serve.”
Robredo, however, is no Cory Aquino.
She is, first and foremost, a loyal party member. In all the worst scandals that have rocked PNoy’s government, Robredo has either feigned ignorance of the facts or, worse, acted as an apologist for failures, abuses and blunders of the ruling political party.
Robredo, for one, has been a staunch defender of Liberal Party president and Department of Transportation and Communications secretary Jun Abaya. Confronted with the frequent breakdown of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT)-3, Robredo refused to acknowledge that Abaya was the root of the problem, arguing that it’s “unfair” to the latter.
“I cannot pinpoint that only one person is the problem and I don’t believe it is him,” Robredo said. But in the same breath, she says she does not have enough information to say whether Abaya should pack his bags or not. Robredo also claims that it is possible that past problems of the regularly malfunctioning train line might have simply caught up with Abaya during his tenure. Talaga??!!
Does she mean her running mate Mar Roxas (who is Abaya’s predecessor) should be blamed for it? Or was she like PNoy referring to the current administration’s favorite villain, former president Gloria Arroyo?
Moreover, despite her good governance rhetoric, Robredo has remained mum about PNoy’s illegal Development Acceleration Program – the source of the bribe money given to senators to ensure the impeachment of former chief justice Renato Corona (God rest his soul). Perhaps that’s because she, too, enjoyed the perks of DAP.
According to militant fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, Robredo’s pet project, the Municipal Fish Port in Calabanga, Camarines Sur, was allocated some P128 million from the DAP. Around P64 million was actually released but, until now, the project has not been finished and no accounting on the funds has been made.
When confronted with the Aquino administration’s screw up in the Mamasapano massacre, Robredo took the middle ground, saying that while she admits government had been remiss, she could not pinpoint who was negligent. This even though PNoy clearly violated the law in letting a suspended police official run the show. And when the Mamasapano investigation was poised to be re-opened by the Senate blue ribbon committee, Robredo joined LP lawmakers in opposing the reinvestigation into the debacle after PNoy called the probe “politically motivated.”
Robredo has also been projecting herself as the champion of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill but she conveniently leaves out the detail that the FOI bill never even made it to plenary in her home turf (i.e., the House of Representatives) because her party’s chairman (aka PNoy) refused to back the measure.
The LP’s vice-presidential bet has also taken pains to portray herself as a non-traditional politician. Yet, she is not above playing traditional politics to ensure the backing of entrenched political kingpins.
In Pampanga, Robredo only had effusive praise for governor Lilia Pineda after the latter endorsed her for vice-president. Never mind that the governor’s husband is an alleged gambling lord and was previously investigated for his known links to jueteng. For Madam Robredo, that’s a minor detail.
Notwithstanding her very vocal crusade against jueteng, the Camarines Sur representative doesn’t see any conflict in accepting Pineda’s “support” because the latter “never asked anything in return.” Wow. Really??!!
Is it any wonder then that, despite Robredo’s claim that she has very little money to fund her campaign, she emerged as the biggest advertising spender (P237 million and counting) among the six vice-presidential bets, as unearthed by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism? A very expensive makeover indeed.
But then again, for the PNoy and his LP buddies, Robredo is their last chance to preserve the cult of “daang matuwid.” Just a heartbeat away from the presidency, Robredo may be the LP’s only hope of recapturing Malacañang in the post-PNoy – or post-Duterte – world.