From the time she assumed office in June 2016 to the present, Leni Robredo has shown that she will do anything and everything to be the next president. Twice Robredo joined the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to derail his administration. In recent times, she courted other politicians to support her presidential pipe dream, and insulted them when she failed to have her way.
Back in 2019, Robredo thought President Duterte would have been unpopular enough for voters to elect her president in 2022. All eight senatorial candidates of the Otso Diretso ticket supported by Robredo’s Liberal Party (LP) lost miserably in the 2019 midterm elections.
The ticket’s Mar Roxas, a former senator who lost his presidential run earlier in 2016, abandoned the group halfway through the campaign. Reelectionist senator Bam Aquino, whose only ticket to his previous election was to look like his uncle Ninoy Aquino, also got clobbered at the polls.
In contrast, Imee Marcos, whose family had been demonized by the LP and the Aquino family for decades, won in the 2019 senatorial derby.
After the Otso Diretso debacle in 2019, Robredo realized that her LP was done for, and that she cannot hope to win if she runs for president under her moribund political party.
To save face in the event that she decides against running for president, Robredo floated the news that she may run for a lower office in her native Camarines Sur.
In the summer of 2021, other ambitious politicians drooling for the presidency were obviously ignoring Robredo, who had done nothing substantial as vice president.
By September 2021, Robredo’s many attempts to create a political alliance with rival but moneyed presidential wannabes proved unsuccessful. Withal, Robredo knew that she cannot con the political opposition into fielding her as its sole candidate for president.
Accordingly, the Robredo camp decided that foreign intervention is her only hope for a viable crack at the presidency. For Robredo’s handlers, it does not matter if Philippine election laws prohibit foreign intervention in the coming presidential election.
The same laws also forbid foreign interest groups from funding the campaign of any candidate for president.
Manifestly, after Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy for president at the last minute, her foreign supporters made their presence felt in the Philippine political scene.
First, the Robredo camp created a hashtag campaign to discredit Isko Moreno Domagoso, a rival presidential candidate. She criticized his public statements praising the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Next, vested interest groups supporting Robredo pressed the International Criminal Court to harass and embarrass President Duterte in blatant violation of International Law, considering that the ICC has no jurisdiction over anybody in the Philippines.
Third, Maria Ressa, the dual-citizen chieftain of Philippine online news outlet Rappler, was given this year’s Nobel Peace Prize supposedly for championing press freedom in the Philippines. Many respected Filipino media practitioners in the Philippines assert that press freedom is alive under President Duterte, and that the Nobel establishment’s decision to award Ressa was politically motivated and influenced by anti-Duterte foreign vested interest groups in the United States and in Europe.
Last week, foreigners with close ties to the Robredo camp filed graft charges against Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi over an alleged anomalous contract involving the natural gas generated by the Malampaya gas field in Luzon. The participation in the complaint of aliens identified with Robredo’s camp, the timing of the complaint (six months before the elections), and the fact that the contract was thoroughly reviewed and approved by several government auditing and oversight agencies, are clear indications that the complaint against Cusi smacks of political harassment designed to boost Robredo’s presidential campaign.
Robredo’s handlers admit they will raise campaign funds from donations from anyone and everyone. Despite the prohibition against any foreign support for candidates in Philippine elections, everybody in the know expects that foreign funds will finance Robredo’s overwhelming desire to become President.
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