Why is Bongbong Marcos the Vice President of the Philippines? Simple. Because presumtive “vice president” Leni Robredo was originally disqualified from taking office. And it was not just Robredo who was disqualified. The entire Liberal Party lineup in the 2016 elections was effectively disqualified.
Recall, following the conclusion of those elections, Robredo’s running mate and Liberal Party presidential candidate Mar Roxas as well as the Liberal Party itself failed to meet the deadline imposed by the Commission on Election (COMELEC) on the submission of their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCEs) — a violation of Section 14 of Republic Act 7166which stipulates that “No person elected to any public offices shall enter upon the duties of his office until he has filed the statement of contributions and expenditures herein required.” Further to that, COMELEC rules applicable to the 2016 elections set a deadline on the 8th of June 2016 that is “final and non-extendible” and that submissions after this date will not be accepted. The LP had violated these rules.
As if Robredo’s disqualification from taking the VP office was not enough, allegations of massive electoral fraud continue to cast black clouds of doubt over the results of the vice presidential race. The integrity of the COMELEC has been put to question thanks to its primary technology vendor Smartmatic being caught out in anomalous procedures surrounding the handling of the electronic counting machines they supplied in those elections.
The only reason Robredo is regarded by many in the Opposition as the current “vice president” is because (1) she was given a lot of help by the then powers-that-be to circumvent all of the rules she and the LP violated, (2) evidence of electoral fraud was systematically covered-up by the COMELEC, and (3) Smartmatic personnel were allowed to quietly slip out of the country and evade investigation. This is all thanks to all the lackeys of former president Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III being in the right positions at the time to oversee and coordinate the various covert and underhanded operations surrounding these three initiatives.
Finally, and most evident of all, Robredo has not achieved anything as “vice president”. Within the first few months of the Duterte administration, she managed to get herself kicked out of the Cabinet and, after that, stumbled through a series of public relations disasters that earned her the ire of the public and, worse, turned her office into a national laughingstock. To be fair, the VP is not exactly expected to do much other than be prepared to step up as president in the event the President is incapacitated. That scenario is not seen to be one that will pan out well considering she will, in the event she needs to, be effectively walking into a den of lions and would have to deal with a Congress that does not think much of her. Indeed, even her own supporters would be hard-pressed to imagine her as an actual acting president of the republic.
Robredo owes her being the perceived VP of the Philippines (for now) to the dishonest acts of top LP henchmen who abused their authority over their remaining days in the COMELEC and the Justice and Immigration Departments as well as a “cooperative” news media industry that helped bury stories and evidence that would have helped expose all of this dishonesty.
In short, the “vice presidency” of Leni Robredo is built upon a vast foundation of dishonesty. To be fair, Filipinos too will have to bear some of the responsibility for routinely allowing or turning a blind eye to the routinely dishonest and disrespectful behaviour of their public servants. It’s high time this lackadaisical attitude is corrected and public officials more rigorously held to account for their actions by the public.