Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

A Guest Editorial from The Daily Tribune

Vice President Leni Robredo has finally joined the presidential race. Although she claims to retain the title of “chairman” of the now irrelevant Liberal Party (LP), Robredo is running for president as an independent candidate.

Robredo personally chose LP president and outgoing Senator Francis Pangilinan as her vice-presidential running mate. Pangilinan, however, will run as a candidate of the LP.

Ex-Senator Bam Aquino of the LP will be Robredo’s campaign manager.

How an independent candidate for president can retain her affiliation with the LP is a mystery. Another mystery is how the same independent candidate can actually have a running mate from the LP. The biggest mystery is why the independent candidate’s political campaign will be managed by someone from the LP.

Robredo has, to all intents and purposes, abandoned the LP by running as an “independent” candidate for president.

Look who’s endorsing Robredo for president.

Aside from Pangilinan, the list includes LP Senator Leila de Lima and ex-senator and former military mutineer Antonio Trillanes IV. They are all praises for Robredo.

Robredo is better off without those endorsements because all three are discredited personalities.

When De Lima was Justice secretary, drug lords detained at the national penitentiary had access to air-conditioned cells, cable television, mobile phones, personal computers, restaurant-catered food, gambling paraphernalia, illegal drugs, high powered firearms, cash and prostitutes. That could not have been possible without De Lima’s tacit approval as Justice secretary.

In 2016, criminal charges were filed against De Lima. Since 2017, she has been detained at Camp Crame. The Supreme Court affirmed the validity of her continued detention.

De Lima’s alleged bagman, who was also her purported lover, revealed that she received millions of pesos from the drug lords for their “special treatment” inside prison. That money is believed to have bankrolled De Lima’s senatorial run in 2016.

In August 2015, De Lima, as Justice secretary, antagonized a religious sect. Although she seemed proud to have had that brush with the sect, De Lima still had the audacity to seek the support of that sect when she ran for the Senate in 2016.

Pangilinan is noted for his political duplicity. Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto knows that for a fact.

In 2011, Sotto recalled that in 2004, Panglinan, who was already a senator, prevented the lawyers of defeated presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. from inspecting certain protested election returns.

Pangilinan, who was allied with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, dismissed all motions for any such inspection by declaring “noted” at the end of each motion. That rote behavior earned Pangilinan the moniker “Mr. Noted,” a nickname he reportedly detests up to today.

That’s not all. Sotto pointed out that in 2010, Pangilinan had already switched party lines, claimed that the 2004 elections were tainted with fraud, and demanded an investigation of the same election returns which he prevented from getting inspected back in 2004.

As expected, Sotto lamented Pangilinan’s political duplicity.

Sotto’s recollection cannot be dismissed because he is Pangilinan’s relative by affinity, i.e., Pangilinan’s spouse is the niece of Sotto’s wife.

When Joseph Estrada was president, Pangilinan, who was then a political unknown, begged for a job in Malacañang. He eventually denounced Estrada at the height of the anti-Estrada protests in January 2001, and got himself in the good graces of Estrada’s successor, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Mr. Noted was the campaign manager of the LP-endorsed Otso Diretso ticket that lost miserably in the 2019 senatorial elections. His lame excuse for the defeat — the LP did not participate in the elections to win.

Trillanes cannot be trusted. When he became a soldier, he took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. He violated that oath when he organized a failed mutiny against President Arroyo in 2003.

For Trillanes, there is nothing sacred about an oath. That alone gives one an idea of the kind of individual he really is.

Pangilinan, De Lima praise Robredo for disowning LP

Her last minute decision to abandon the LP to achieve her selfish and consuming desire to become president should be enough reason for the electorate not to vote for her in 2022 as Robredo finally announced she is running for president.

Her announcement surprised nobody because Robredo has been eyeing the presidency since she was lucky enough to become vice president in 2016.

A last minute, second choice candidate of the Liberal Party (LP) for vice president in 2016, Robredo now hopes she will be lucky enough anew to trick the electorate into voting for her in 2022, this time as president.

Here’s the first surprise. Since she obtained power in 2016, Robredo had always styled herself as the titular head of the LP. Last Thursday, however, Robredo indicated that she is running for president not as a candidate of the LP, but as an independent bet.

Robredo wore a blue dress with a pink ribbon on the left side of her chest at her press conference. Conspicuously missing from Robredo’s chosen attire that day was the color yellow by which the LP identifies itself.

Here’s the second surprise. The news reports have it that Robredo has picked Senator Francis Pangilinan for her vice-presidential running mate. Pangilinan is said to have agreed, but he will run for vice president under the LP banner.

LP deserter Robredo, an independent candidate for president, is running with Pangilinan as the LP bet for vice president. It’s like a marriage, except that one spouse does not want to be publicly identified as the spouse of the other.

By running as an independent candidate for president, Robredo has effectively disowned the LP, and is obviously distancing herself from the party that made her vice president. Why Pangilinan, the LP president, would even agree to be the vice-presidential running mate of Robredo, who now disdains the LP and everything the LP stands for, is an interesting question.

The answer — Robredo badly wants to be president.

She knows that being identified with the LP is a sure way of losing the presidential derby. No other political party wants her, except for the fairy tale organization called 1Sambayan. Robredo, therefore, has no choice but to run as an independent. Like Robredo, the haughty Pangilinan also lusts for power, and he will do anything to get it, even if it means compromising his own political party.

In the aftermath of Robredo’s sudden departure from the LP, the logical step for the LP was to find another presidential candidate in lieu of the ungrateful Robredo. However, it seems like the LP has fallen to such hard times that it cannot find anybody willing and foolish enough to run for president under the LP banner.

Thus, the LP bigwigs have become so desperate to keep the party afloat that they swallowed their pride and allowed their party president to be the vice-presidential running mate of one who deserted the LP. What a shame!

In sum, the LP is so devoid of self-respect that it has allowed the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket to run under such an abominable and demeaning arrangement.

Here’s the third surprise. Right after Robredo announced her candidacy for president, Pangilinan and Leila de Lima, another senator from the LP, praised Robredo to the high heavens. The duo practically hailed Robredo as the savior of the people in the coming polls.

By praising Robredo after the latter abandoned the LP, and by endorsing Robredo’s bid for president after she showed her disdain for the LP, Pangilinan and De Lima tacitly admitted that the LP does not deserve the respect of anybody, themselves included.

If LP bigwigs like Pangilinan and De Lima don’t have any respect for the LP anymore, then the LP candidates in the 2022 elections do not deserve to be voted to office.

As for the political opportunist and ingrate Robredo, her last-minute decision to abandon the LP to achieve her selfish and consuming desire to become president should be enough reason for the electorate not to vote for her in 2022.

Today’s Balitaang Bayan is a guest editorial featuring cartoons from the Daily Tribune.

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