The succession issue and Leni Robredo

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Mindful that a special pain is reserved for those who oppress widows and orphans, I wanted to be as deferential as possible to the eminent widow, Vice President Leni Robredo, who had just lost her Cabinet post as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

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Rightly or wrongly, she is the pride of many dear friends in my home region, and I would like to honor that as a fellow Bicolano. Her late husband Jesse was a good friend and a loyal political supporter when I was in the Batasan, the Cabinet and the Senate. I knew him as a good man, a hard-working city mayor, who deserved much better treatment from then President B.S. Aquino 3rd who made him Secretary of the Interior and Local governments.

But Leni needs to comport herself with greater dignity and self-worth now, after her awful sacking from the Cabinet. She did not deserve the rough treatment she got, but she cannot change the fact that she was fired, unceremoniously. She wrote DU30 a superfluous letter of resignation to make it appear she was quitting of her own volition, but the incontrovertible fact is that she was sacked through Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who told her DU30 did not want to see her in his Cabinet meetings anymore. Communications Secretary Martin Andanar supplemented it by saying DU30 had lost all trust in her.

What Leni should say and not say
Given all that, it is not good for her to be saying, “I would have wanted to stay.” Or that, she and DU30 should act “like two parents of a family.” They are not, and have never been a family. They don’t even share the same family values. Critics say she supports state contraception and possibly abortion; nobody knows what DU30 supports. But this is not the point at issue.

The point is, the Vice President does not have a right to any Cabinet appointment. Even if the VP belonged to the President’s political party, he or she cannot presume to be entitled to a Cabinet seat. The language of the Consitution is clear: “The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.”

The decision belongs entirely to the President. An appointment is unimaginable when the Vice-President comes from outside the President’s party, like Robredo. Diosdado Macapagal spent his entire vice-presidency attending town fiestas and campaigning for the next election because then-President Carlos P. Garcia refused to give him any official duties. An appointment becomes even more unimaginable when the Vice-President’s election is protested by the President’s team mate or ally, like Robredo’s.

What happened to Vice President Jejomar C. Binay in 2010 was rather exceptional. PNoy made him HUDCC head despite the fact that he belonged to the opposing party, and his election was protested by PNoy’s own losing team mate, Mar Roxas. Binay’s long close personal relationship with the Aquinos, beginning with Cory Aquino, who first appointed him mayor of Makati in 1986, overturned all party considerations.

In the case of Robredo, no such close relationship exists between her and DU30; she personally lobbied for her appointment, appealing to his personal weakness. She got what she wanted, but lost it quickly after a few months, apparently because of suspicions that she was part of a Liberal Party plot to oust DU30 from the presidency.

The reported plot to install Leni
According to this theory, the LP, which bankrolled her campaign and conducted the special operations that allowed her to overtake her closest rival, former Sen. Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr., during the final counting of votes, was plotting to oust DU30 and put her in his place. The alleged plot first surfaced during the campaign when LP operatives decided DU30 had become unbeatable, and the only way for them to get the presidency would be to concentrate on the vice presidency, and then work for DU30’s ouster after he won the presidency.

The first part of this plan was realized when, after consistently trailing Marcos by close to a million votes, Robredo suddenly overtook him by a couple of hundred thousand votes and was proclaimed vice-president-elect. But the ouster plan had to be put on hold because of DU30’s incredible popularity despite his summary drug killings, his brusque manners and highly vulgar and offensive language.

The Marcos burial as trigger
However, alarm bells were triggered when, despite the LP’s, the Left’s and Robredo’s objections, Duterte authorized the burial of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Although the State did not bury Marcos as a hero, the public outcry from his enemies was that he had been given a hero’s burial, even though he was no hero. The burial brought together the communists and their supporters whose armed rebellion Marcos had tried to crush with his martial law proclamation in 1972, the Aquino family whose political animosity towards Marcos started with the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. and had become legendary, and Leni Robredo, who feared that the nine Supreme Court justices who had ruled in favor of the burial could rule next in favor of Marcos’s electoral protest.

They apparently feared that the legal effort to resolve the Marcos protest, through a correct recount, could outpace any effort to have Robredo replace DU30. So they embarked on a massive mobilization effort not only to attack Marcos but above all to intimidate the SC, in its capacity as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), into not acting on the protest. For them the greatest threat to the nation was not the threat posed by DU30’s coalition government with the NDF and Evasco’s Kilusang Pagbabago, but Marcos Jr. becoming DU30’s vice president through an accurate recount ot the votes last May.

This is why there seemed to be effusive celebration within the anti-Marcos camp when DU30 said Robredo “will finish her term,” as though he was in control of the PET process and of human life itself. To this, Robredo responded, “Rody will finish his term, too.” Despite all this, the effort to promote Robredo as DU30’s successor, should he suddenly exit for health or other reasons, continues. It appeared to get a boost from DU30’s latest admissions of his various health problems at the Wallace Business Forum on Monday.

The problem is Leni, more than DU30
Indeed, if Robredo is confirmed by the PET as Vice President, the President could go anytime and there should be no concern about her succeeding DU30. That’s what the Constitution says and we should follow what the Constitution says. The trouble, though, is that far too many people seem to believe she did not win the last election, and yet there seems to be a determined effort on the part of her supporters to fast-track the succession process before the PET could resolve the electoral issue.

This creates major concerns about constitutional legitimacy. The question does not arise with respect to DU30, but it is the first issue raised against Robredo. DU30 has been in office for less than six months, and is now travelling to his 11th foreign destination as head of state. But more and more people are saying they will not mind saying goodbye to him at this time, in favor of a less caustic and more predictable president. The question though is, will they be prepared to welcome Leni?

This is where the country seems to be right now. To many critics DU30 is proving to be no better than Aquino, whom they used to call “the worst president we ever had.” But the potential alternative to DU30 does not promise to be any improvement either. What do we do, and where do we go from here? Let’s talk more about this later.

* * *

In Memoriam. Bishop Javier Ecchevaria, Prelate of Opus Dei, and second successor to Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, (after Blessed Alvaro del Portillo), was called to his eternal rest on the Feast-Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Rome at the age of 84, after long years of faithful service to the Church. He had visited the Philippines once, where he met many members of the prelature, popularly known as the Work. Father Carlos Estrada, Regional Vicar of Opus Dei in the Philippines, will celebrate a Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul at the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Cubao at 5:30 pm tomorrow (Thursday). Please remember him in your prayers. Thank you very much.

fstatad@gmail.com

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16 Comments

  1. Abnoy wanted Leni Robredo to be elected Vice-President so he could easily outmaneuver her so that he can be President again. Although Mar Roxas was his chosen successor, he really didn’t like Mar. Although he got Robredo elected VP through frauds, he refused to elevate Mar Roxas to the Presidency to the same frauds that he got Robredo elected to the VP. He did not like Mar Roxas to be his successor because he has got a lot an experience in politics. He wants a neophyte in politics like Robredo so that she cannot understand his moves to eventually remove her and place himself as her successor. He thought he could easily remove Duterte once the former becomes President. The Aquinos were able to remove Marcos and Estrada without any trouble because they consented to their removal. However, Duterte is a different case. Duterte will not consent to his removal but will fight back. Congress is afraid to impeach Duterte so his impeachment is out of the question. Removing Duterte through a coup d’tat will be an extremely bloody affair. The only chance to removing Duterte is through an assassination. But we ordinary folks can prevent that by praying for his safety.

  2. In Bongbong Marcos’ 6 years in the senate, he authored 1 insignificant useless bill known as Rep. Act 10632: Postponement of the Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. One ( 1 ) bill in 6 years was a big joke, a waste of taxpayers time and money wrongly spent on that dumbass Bongbong who don’t belong anywhere but in Ilocos. Clearly, Bongbong Marcos had a problem understanding his task as senator like that dumbass clown Lito Lapid who is now collecting his lifetime government pension courtesy of the bobotantes.

  3. Abnoy is Gone.. Lets concentrate what the Our New Leaders are doing. They are on the Drivers Seat now. Let see what can they accomplished. Stop Talking about the past president. What happen in the past will not help the present. You’re wasting your time attacking the people who are gone.

  4. Pres Duterte is in his 70’s and requires strict adherence to 6-8 hours of sleep, rest and watch what he eats everyday in order to keep him heatlhy , If he has normal blood pressure and his blood chemistry are all norma l, he maybe prone to easy fatigability due to many extremedemand and pressure required of the Presidency. This however depends on those staff members around him, who should include it on many of his undertakings, if they do not wish a “fake” Leni to take the Presidency from him. Adding a musical concert in Malacanang from reknown pianist and singers of local musicianoccasionally and on Christmas will be a good therapy if he does not engage in sports.

  5. I have nothing against Leni, but what would you expect if she become the Pres. of the Republic? She is intellectually short of being a lawyer. She should stop doing press conferences dahil napag-alaman lang na wala syang kaalam-alam. She is just trying to portray herself as someone who has a natural charm and ease dealing with people especially with marginalized but in reality she’s lazy. She doesn’t support the poor people of this country but her self-serving Loser’s Party (LP). Good riddance when she was fired from her cabinet post. She is a whiner and a back-biter of Pres. Digong.

  6. Robredo will never be able to succeed PRRD if he is unable to finish his term. There will be hell to pay if the Yellows attempt a comeback and you can forget about Constitutional succession.

  7. Leni Robredo is very obvious salivating the Presidency. As Vice President she has not shown any exemplary accomplishment in her 6 months in office.. Everything that comes from her mouse is rubbish. . She is a replica of Noynoy. Lazy. Maarte to the extent na she looks like naglalandi. Most of the time she shows how stupid she is. May mga sinasabi siya na she cannot even reason out. My God how can she become a President when she can not even express herself. She cannot even talk straight English. She speaks nonsense. Walang kabuluhan ang mga sinasabi niya.Ang dami niyang body language. Even this time she does not act as a dignified lady. Parang artistang nagpapainteview. Fellow Filipinos ano kaya ang mangyayari sa bayan natin kund maging presidente siya. She will take Jim Paredes, Leah Navarro etc as advisers. Mga impokrito. Let us pray to GOD that the time will not come.

  8. By TATAD : To many critics DU30 is proving to be no better than Aquino, whom they used to call “the worst president we ever had.” But the potential alternative to DU30 does not promise to be any improvement either.

    What do we do, and where do we go from here?
    Let’s talk more about this later. …..

    This means your twist & turn words are not ready that is why you say “lets talk more about this later” ( only yellows’ said this may be including your self )

    PLEASE STOP MISGUIDING PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. (specially low IQ filipinos)

  9. The Great Defiant on

    DU30 is no better than your abnOY?
    let’s be fair…
    Ninoy passed study now, pay later bill one drafted by Raul Roco. Only one…
    abnOY never passed a single bill in congress or senate. Zero, itlog, bokya.

    “mga bosss ko, ito na po ang senyales ng maunlad na bansa:
    1. baha
    2. malubhang trapik
    3. sirang MRT
    4. pagkain ng pagpag
    5. mataas na bilihin sa mababang sahuran
    6. nag import na rin tayo ng basura galling Canada
    7. bukod na worst airport ang paliparan na nasa pangaln ko, nagtatanim bala na rin tayo sa NAIA
    8. lumago na rin ang kalakal ng eligal na droga at adik sa ibang bansa.

    Just to name a few. Don’t get me wrong, I was once an avid fan of abnOY until I found him as a “TRAITOR”.

    Tuwid na daan…
    DATDAT hindi ka ba nata-trapik sa Manila?
    unless you rode a chop going to your office.

  10. LENI na ENDO (end of contract)

    How long can you drive/rely on a Fake or “Donut” Spare TIRE or V.P.?

    Fake or “Donut” Spare TIRE or V.P. are not made for long extended service. They have no tread/achievement to speak of; the carcass or body of the tire or her mind is not reinforced (w/ experience/knowledge) and there is no tread belt (real mandate) to protect it/her from “attacks” or projectiles and road imperfections.

    Donut – an individual whom is extremely stupid. Lacks intelligence and common sense

  11. The problem with this VP and her cahoots is that she cannot move on to the series of issues that they kept on clinging over and over. Marcos, Human Rights, Du30 being a dictator etc. People are so f…ing tired on the same lame issues that you keep using. Somebody should tell her that its about time for her to work. Honey moon period is over, Its been 7 months already and yet she seems to have any accomplishments? BTW is Trekking an accomplishments? My gas tax payers are paying you for your salary and yet you did not do anything to alleviate their poor miserable life. All you know nad kept on doing is doing dirty politics.

  12. The unabated slaughter of the nation’s citizens in the name of the war on drugs is destroying the cherished values and tradition of this Malayan country. Human dignity is violated with impunity. No repressive regime has ever won or will ever win the war this way. We have become a police state.

    • lets turn your beloved malayan country a haven of drug traffickers, drug lord influenced politicians election results and trun your beloved country a narco state ala Columbia or Mexico with drug cartels power extended to the government their judiciary and their military…. sound familiar right… this is the choice … to weed out the the scums or get the country completely taken over by the same people your heart is bleeding out!

    • criminals has no human dignity thus they dont deserved human rights…honestly, I would be very happy if all these idiots are exterminated together with the yellowish people…