"This is make or break for the vice president."
I received a lot of feedback and good vibes on my last column “Gambit” about Vice President Leni Robredo’s acceptance of the anti- drug czar post. This has prompted me to do a follow-up.
The most uplifting for me came from public relations practitioner Dennis Navarro. Now Dennis is not your ordinary PR man. He’s been long in the business and knows media well. Aside from his comment that the column was “incisive and powerful,” I will not say more lest I’m perceived as blowing my own horn.
What are the chances of VP Robredo’s success after all the accolade she got for accepting a job that was meant to fail? If President Rodrigo Duterte failed to do it in three years of relentless and brutal war on drugs with all the awesome power of the presidency, can Veep Robredo do it in the short time she has plus the limited resources at her disposal?
In fairness to the President, he has ordered the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police plus the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to support VP Robredo’s campaign.
A word of caution to the Vice President—there’s no need for you to join law enforcers in their operations as you could only get in the way or even get hurt as these drug traffickers are armed and dangerous. It’s enough that the anti-drug czar give the police directions on how to do it without incurring allegedly extra judicial killings of suspects. Now the question is given the policy of restrained law enforcement, will the criminals get bolder and expand their operations?
Leni might score success in the area of human rights but will she achieve the same in reducing the scourge of illegal drug trafficking. ?
This is the tricky part in the win/loss ledger of the campaign against drugs. We wish the Vice President success in walking the tight rope in performance of her delicate position.
Now, let us not underestimate the Vice President. The widow of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was offered the post of Regional Trial Court judge but she declined and instead ran and won as Camarines Sur representative. She then went on to win the vice presidency. She has a law degree which she balances with her sober approach which others think is a sign of weakness. But the fact that she accepted the challenging task of anti-drug czar would show courage and undaunted character to dare the odds against her.
This is a make-or-break challenge for Leni Robredo. If she succeeds, her political capital would surge. If she fails as certain quarters want her to, then she should forget any ambition to run for the highest post in the land in the 2022 presidential elections.
Voters in this country want winners in their politicians. They are cold to losers. But this is realpolitik. How could you succeed in a bigger job if you fail in a smaller one?
Given all the factors in the anti-drug campaign wherein there are persistent reports/rumors of police involvement, Robredo could be hailed as the Filipino “Wonder Woman” if she overcomes all these overwhelming odds.
But that still does not guarantee her election as President in 2022 because Filipinos as voters are failures themselves. This is the sad fact of Filipinos which contributes to our instability as a nation.
Meanwhile, there are persistent reports of former President Noynoy Aquino’s failing health. People who have seen him lately say he is thin and pale. This, amid clamor that he be made accountable for the Mamasapano massacre wherein 44 PNP Special Action Force commandos were killed by combined elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Force and the criminal band of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Whatever the outcome of the probable prosecution of the former President, we wish him recovery from whatever ails him.