Oct 29, 2020

Presidential pique boosted VP Leni’s career

Was President Digong’s offer for VP Robredo to lead the drug war a well-crafted gambit designed to save him from its apparent failure? Or, as some kibitzers say, the President was simply piqued by his Vice President’s unceasing criticism of Oplan Tokhang, and out of desperation, he offered her a non-existent job, hoping it will be snubbed.

Close associates of Robredo also saw a trap in the offer that would make her look like a fumbling failure in leading a war that was doomed from the start. But to their consternation, she accepted the challenge.

Pressed for details of her role in the drug war, the Palace issued what looks like an appointment placing her as Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Committee Against Illegal Drugs (ICAD), a title she shares with PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino. It will be recalled that Aquino has directly questioned Robredo’s competence to lead the drug war. But with the recent twist of events, he will have to sit beside the Vice President to preside over the meetings of the ICAD. That gives the PDEA Chief a vantage view to validate his earlier judgment of Robredo, and if found otherwise, be man enough to eat a mouthful of his own words.

It would be instructive to see how the President’s men, notably Senators Bato Dela Rosa and Bong Go, reacted to the Vice President’s role in the drug war. Both denigrated Robredo’s humane approach and even predicted that ” babying” the drug lords is a sure-fire formula for failure. This drew a sharp rebuke from Senator Frank Drilon who opined that it is too early to judge her performance as she has not even started work.

VP Robredo is the biggest beneficiary of the President’s fit of pique. Where before she was generally ignored by media, now the stage is all hers, prompting defeated VP and now Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano to call Robredo’s forays as all Oplan “talk-hang”. But to be fair to the Vice President, talk and listen are all she could do at this time. She was given a position with a blurred job description. Thus, there could be no way for VP Leni to fail simply because no measurement of success was ever defined. Just a decrease in casualties during raids, no matter how minuscule, are reasons enough for Robredo to claim resounding success.

Political strategists working on the 2022 presidential elections will have to reconfigure their drawing boards and factor-in Robredo’s ascendancy. How she will tweak the drug war as well as her newfound relevance will pretty much decide her political future. With a high profile platform to show her mettle both as leader and manager, the Presidency may no longer be as elusive as before. And as her stars continue to shine in the political firmament, Robredo has only the President to thank for in resuscitating her otherwise moribund political career.

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Gov. JCA is keen on inviting members of media, the academe and “No To Coal” proponents for a short visit to DMCI’s 900-megawatt Calaca power complex in Calaca, Batangas.

I am certain the plant visit and the discussions with DMCI’s technical staff will go a long way towards enlightening everyone about coal-fired power plants. It could also clarify the many myths that go with coal as base-load that powers industry and lights our homes. For the ” No to Coal” partisans, the visit will give them the opportunity to test their theories and see if it works on the ground. As an old saying goes, “the test of the pudding is in the eating”.

 

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