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.