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Was there a Robredo joke or not?

By: Batas Mauricio

THE news report which was captioned to project the idea that Vice President Leni Robredo cracked a joke about her possible ouster from her position by virtue of a decision of the Supreme Court in connection with the protest from her rival, former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was totally amusing, and seemed to be a ploy to cause the dismissal of the protest.

First, even a meticulous reading of the entire report will not yield any direct statement, much less a joke, from Robredo, relative to that pending protest which, by the way, is a protest that is not even before the Supreme Court, but before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, a body distinct from the court and where only three of its 15 justices are members.

From the news report itself, it would appear that what Robredo joked about was the vice president of the Ateneo de Manila University, where she was invited to speak about the tribunal’s decision to allow the burial of Marcos’ father, the late President Marcos, to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

So the question that the editors of the newspaper which published the report must answer is this: if Robredo did not directly make a joke about herself and about the protest against her, why was the report entitled “Robredo jokes: will SC oust me next from VP post?”

There would have been no problem with that kind of a title, if it was given to an opinion column, or even to an editorial which is supposed to represent the stand of the paper itself. Unfortunately, if it is to a straight news report that that kind of title was given, as what happened in the Robredo-Ateneo story, it would not only be inappropriate.

It would also be a clear distortion of the event depicted in the news story, and this is something that should not be seen in a national daily newspaper, especially one that prides itself in truthful reporting and fearless opinion-making.

Undeniably, the story shows its bias in favor of Robredo–that of wanting her to retain her position as the second highest official of the land, even at the expense of how the protest will ultimately turn out. It also shows its contempt of the highest court of the land, by suggesting, at the very least, that it is incapable of judiciously and fairly deciding on cases involving the Marcos family.

Robredo, too, displayed this distrust on the court, by speaking about the Supreme Court not having the capacity to unseat the vice president of Ateneo, implying, on the sly, that, indeed, the tribunal will not act fairly on her case and would favor her rival, former Sen. Marcos, in his protest against her.

This is truly sad. After all, Robredo is not only the country’s second highest official at the moment, who is expected to display utmost trust and confidence in the institutions of the government where she is a part of at all times, but is also a lawyer who ought to know that it is not the Supreme Court that will decide on the case against her, but another body, so that it is not fair to be hitting the court in any way over the issue.

Can anyone tell me how many electoral proclamations and elections have we already undergone as a Filipino nation? And, can anyone tell me, sincerely and truthfully, whether those who have been elected and proclaimed have made a difference in uplifting the lives of Filipinos? Has the Philippines really experienced economic growth already? Have poor Filipinos improved their lives?

I guess everyone knows the answers to these questions. So, what is the use of elections and proclamations? It would seem only those who have been elected–by means fair or foul–and proclaimed, and taken office, benefitted from all these political and electoral exercises. But as far as the ordinary Filipino on the street is concerned, it is clear no benefit whatsoever has ever descended on him.

Yes, and I am saying this without fear of contradiction: ever since the Philippines started electing its officials from the start of its becoming a republic, or a supposedly free nation, from the Spanish era up to the present time, from every nook and cranny of the archipelago, a great number of Filipino electorate have remained poor, destitute, and lacking in even the most basic necessities in life. So, I ask again, what is the use of elections and proclamations?

Many will say, this is the fault of no one else but the voters themselves. They allow themselves to be bought, to be manipulated, to be cheated. They do not vote the really deserving, they do not concern themselves with the abuses and the crimes of those who have been voted before, so they have no reason to complain. If the system is loaded against them, it is because they have allowed the system to be loaded against them.

Well, this is one way of seeing things. On the other hand, it is also said that this is the fault of our greedy and insatiable politicians and political leaders. They have no concern for the welfare of their constituents. Their only desire is to be elected, so they could use the power of their office to further enhance their personal, family, and business interests. So they buy votes, they cheat, and they manipulate.

The question is, where are all of these things headed for? Will the poor continue to allow themselves to remain the object of manipulation and electoral cheating and fraud? Will the rich and the powerful remain greedy and hungry for power and the perks and privileges that go with a government position?

It would seem that the answer to these questions are quite obvious. As things stand, the poor will continue to be abused and used merely as pawns by the rich and the powerful, while the rich will remain insatiable in their greed. Nothing is going to change, considering the tendency of many destitute Filipinos to simply accept the fate that has befallen them.

But then this should not be for long. No matter how inconsequential this may appear to many, there are now well-defined groups in this country who believe that change will not come from the politicians, the rich and the mighty, and certainly not from the poor, but rather, will come from God, in His great mercy and love for those who believe Him and have faith in Him.

These believers are now furiously working to change this country through the means provided for by God, in His Bible, particularly the portions therein which say that change for the better and for success will come by listening to God and careully obeying His commands. My fervent prayer is that these groups will accomplish their work in due time, by God’s permission.

E-mail: batasmauricio@yahoo.com

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