Even as a vice president—traditionally a position which is just a spare tire of the sitting president in case of illness or death— Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Gerona Robredo never lived up to this image.
Despite a shoestring budget and her being deprived of a juicy-funded Cabinet portfolio, she made sure she served the people the best way she can. Her works for the poor and underprivileged in far-flung areas which no Cabinet member or director would dare venture to, grew in prominence such that companies and funders started pouring resources into her projects.
She gave them not only the funds to start income-generating activities but she showered them with compassion and the healing touch to make them feel they are loved and they are part of this nation.
Even if she has been unceremoniously removed from the drug task force after two weeks, she was able to deliver a coherent report to local and foreign leaders that made this outgoing administration look like it had been remiss in humanity in doing its job.
In every disaster or calamity and during the health crisis, her office was the first to respond to the needs of the country—giving relief goods and other essential needs to surmount the setbacks. She had been in Marawi long developing the skills of the people there, long before this outgoing administration threw its military strength in hunting down a few people and putting chaos in the entire province.
It is no wonder then that many people look up to her with respect and awe. She has become the source of hope and inspiration for the people—not just those that she touched with her projects but also those that volunteered in her campaigns-- who were inspired to serve the people creatively. Leni harnessed the creativity in the Filipino.
Her losing in this year’s election will not render her irrelevant because she vowed to continue what she had been doing even before entering politics—that is to serve the people the best way she could. And by launching on July 1, her first day as Citizen Leni again, the Angat Buhay Foundation, her relevance (even if most people would refuse to recognize it) would be heightened.
Browsing through Facebook, I came across a post that said “In my opinion, Maria Leonor G. Robredo is the most consequential Vice President in modern Philippine history. She was able to transform the role of the Vice President from being merely a spare tire into an active force for poverty alleviation and good governance.
Though she was defeated in her Presidential run, she will not lose relevance in our national scene because of Angat Buhay Foundation and her crusade against misinformation and disinformation. I believe she will continue to be an icon of the movement for good governance and inspire young leaders to rise up. I hope we start laying the groundwork for local electoral victories in 2025 as well as strongly counteract revisionist narratives and misinformation/disinformation.
Tara na! Ituloy na natin ito para sa Pilipinas ng ating mga pangarap!”
So many similar posts sprout in Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Whether the supporters of Leni’s rivals make a mockery of it, she will not stop doing what she does best and that is genuine public service, without any returns expected.
If we truly love our country, let us forget our election colors and stand united in work, prayer and commitment to public service. Let us support Leni for the sake of those in the margins of society. This is the essence of true unity.