The Vice President needs a strategic review of her situation and direction


    THERE is momentary calm and goodwill between President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo. The principals look confident and comfortable. It’s their functionaries and camps that are worrisome; they could go off anytime in directions that could shatter the temporary peace.

    We are particularly worried by the advisers and spokesmen of VP Robredo, who appear so inexperienced and amateurish, they could waste this precious opportunity for our two top officials, and the entire government, to work and pull together.

    In the past, after Ms Robredo initially failed to mold a good working relationship with the Cabinet and the President, the Vice President was guided wrongly into taking patently misguided positions in public affairs, into sponsoring policies and taking actions that did not advance her public standing, or the national interest.

    It’s notable that after the existence of a destabilization and impeachment challenge against President Duterte was exposed, the Vice President was disastrously advised to tape a video message for the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotics in Vienna. The message was so crudely thought out, and so badly written that the poor Vice President wound up as standing against the President, the country and our people. Support staff were so inept they could not even explain intelligently what the VP was doing.

    Then, also, the VP has thoughtlessly assumed roles that on their face are contrary to her interest and injurious to her office. We refer particularly to her assumption of the chairmanship of the dysfunctional, and virtually non-existent Liberal Party, which at this point stands for nothing but the forlorn hope that DU30 would magically disappear, and pave the way for his successor.

    We make bold to suggest to the Vice President that her situation, her program, and her policy positions require at this time a thorough strategic review. This review is similar to what every organization, whether private or public, needs to do in order to right its course and position itself to achieve big goals.

    We are not convinced that the VP today has real strategic direction, that points her towards the advancement of the nation, her office and her political career. She seems to be advancing the interests of others, rather than her own. And she looks obligated or trapped by the political forces that persuaded her to run for high office, and perhaps funded her candidacy.

    It’s too late to review and revise the decisions and alliances of the past.

    It’s not too late, however, for Ms Robredo to transform her sojourn in the office of Vice President into a meaningful and useful one, for herself and for the nation. She can make a constructive contribution from her office to the effectiveness of the government, and the strengthening of our national life.

    A strategic review to be effective should not shirk the difficult choices that must be made. Sometimes changes in personnel are needed. Sometimes a radical change in policy positions is wise. And finally, and often, the principal herself or himself should be prepared to change her ways.


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    1. Leni Robredo did not expect to be the vice president of anybody else but her running mate. So when it did not happen she was clueless as to how to proceed. Once seated, she resumed following orders from her losing running mate and his advisers instead of working side by side the elected president independently and pushing her own programs forward. This scenario was not foreseen by their party and it shows.

      However, it is not too late to regroup and fix the damage to her image. I hope she is confident enough to go against the grain (just like the president) and choose the road to true service for the people.

    2. Leopoldo Mayo on

      VP Leni Robredo can’t be blamed entirely for what she has to do at this point of her career as a spare tire for the Philippine Presidency, even if her slim victory over her closest opponent is under a heavy cloud of election cheating. An unwilling candidate, she was funded by the Liberal Party to the tune of almost P500 million as a spare tire and come-on for the now unlamented and hopelessly losing LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas. By a fluke and by possible outright cheating she was declared a winner, and by a fluke she now must carry the heavy burden of being the only hope of the Yellows to regain instant political power in the event that the incumbent President goes to the Blue Yonder or gets dumped or incapacitated. It’s an extremely heavy and lonely burden that Leni Robredo can’t shirk or escape from because it’s a prepaid responsibility. She has politically compromised herself by riding a sinking ship to keep it afloat and now she has no choice but to sink with it. That, in short, is the political tragedy of VP Leni Robredo.

    3. Acting/VP Robredo needs to accept that her video to UN caused, perhaps unintentionally, consequences that portrays her maligning Philippines and its people, within the country and abroad. She should apologize to Filipino citizens she offended and made to feel betrayed, not for political reasons but because it is the right thing to do. Listen to the grievances of OFW for example, who rarely speaks ill words. Listen not to respond but to understand their plight and what it is that you may have caused that has got them taking action for change. No matter how defensibly good her video message was articulated inviting the international community to intervene in Philippines politics, she painted a picture of the country and, worse of all its people, as drug addicts and killers living in a lawless State. You speak of facts and truth? The fact is Filipinos are hard working FRIENDLY people. The truth is you have branded us as lawless drug addicts and murderers. How could you? How dare you? And you wonder why millions of Filipinos want you impeached. This has direct impact on visa applications on character and health. Her bias, perceived or otherwise, that other nations are better than Filipinos and more capable to server “justice” on our sovereign nation is nothing short of disgusting. Never in world history has had a VP or second highest head of State or lower, acting capacity or not, has called on international bodies to intervene on its own country’s politics unless the purpose was to oust the Head of State or declare civil war. Majority of Filipinos are smarter and not as gullible as you would have them believe, simply more humble than most. Stop shaming us abroad because it’s not the president you are hurting, it’s us.. the hard working but friendly Filipino people.

    4. The editorial banner is indeed intriguing and surprising to imply for the OVP to formulate a (separate) strategic direction and purpose of existence knowing full well of its Constitutional mandate — be a backup to the president. Certainly the editor must be aware of this.

      To a great extent and in an ideal world, the VP derives its marching orders and operating space from the President– assuming they share common beliefs and come from the same political party. However, our electoral system which allows the election of its leaders from separate parties has its flaws — and no more is it evident than now. It would have been perfect if they came from the same party by they don’t — and we have to live by it.

      A test of our maturity.

      The VPs advocacy and close to her heart is poverty alleviation. She has made this known — even during the election. Without a cabinet portfolio it would be extremely difficult to do anything concrete and it is unfair to expect the VP to do much.

      In spite of budget limitations, she is doing great with her Angat Buhay program.

      When Pdu30 appointed her HUDCC chairperson it gave her the opportunity to address a specific concern — housing. Unfortunately her appointment lasted only a few months.

      Back to square one.

      Compounded by extreme political bickering, it is indeed insensitive to
      imply she needs to define and justify her role — as if her office existed on its own and outside those defined by law and given by the President.

      She identifies with the urgent challenges we face — illegal drugs, corruption, peace and order among others. Hers is a subset of these. If there are differences in opinion being expressed, it is a healthy sign of our democracy.

      I am simply amazed at this editorial “suggestion” for her to define herself, office and mission. It does not work that way. I guess you know this.

      She is a team player but a player must be called into the basketball court to play. Hopefully they can resolve roles — soonest — for the sake of the nation.

      Dinner anyone?

      • My Gosh! are you blind or are your eyes still close until now? you said she is a team player, correct! she was appointed to the cabinet that means she was made to play on the basketball court. The problem is she always passes the ball to the opponents team not to her team and during time out she goes to the opponents coach to hear instructions. Yes admittedly she is a team player but on the opposite team.

    5. The problem with VP Robredo is that her latest fiasco – maligning the Duterte administration with erroneous information in an international forum like the U.N. – is widely viewed by most Filipinos as the ultimate betrayal of the country. It has engendered so much disgust, dismay and disbelief from a lot of Filipinos that even mending her ways at this point in time might be very hard for people to accept. A lot of Filipinos view her as a detriment to this country moving forward.

    6. Nigel of Makati on

      This is a very objective editorial piece, hopefully VP Leni read this one and take heed before she implodes. God bless you VP Leni. I pray that you will have Godly wisdom to change your ways- fit for a Vice President. Meanwhile, please go with the flow towards progress of our country until your case at the Supreme Court is resolved.

    7. I love the brilliant observation of this Editor, unbiased and real. ” She seems to be advancing the interests of others, rather than herself ” this is our VP doing since she occupied the Boracay Mansion, and ” She must change her ways” More power to Manila Times.

    8. Luzy Canilao on

      The editorial is expecting too much from Robredo who’s so adept in cluelessly shooting herself in the foot.