"This was a masterstroke on the part of Robredo."
There was a time when Vice President Leni Robredo was not invited to state functions like welcoming a visiting head of state. Now she can attend Cabinet meetings again as the post she accepted this week has Cabinet rank. As such, she will now be privy to all sensitive discussions. President Rodrigo Duterte unwittingly opened the door to the Veep whom he had always wanted to keep out.
Despite warnings from her supporters that she is being set up by the President. Robredo damned the torpedoes and accepted President Duterte's challenge. It was a master stroke by that she did. She was given a platform by the President himself to gain national prominence. As anti-drug czar, Robredo can now invite the United Nations and other countries to look into the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.
The President did not realize that he had opened a Pandora's box by appointing Robredo.
There is a book titled “Why Do Smart People Do Dumb Things?” The President and his supporters should read this.
“I am ready for the task, are you ready for me?” asked Robredo of the administration officials. Will the President order the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police to throw their support behind the new anti-drug czar? The President's sincerity in offering the post to his Veep will be put to a test on this matter of AFP and PNP support.
The Vice President will of course see how both the AFP and the PNP will react to her order for all-out support. The widow of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo—who died in a plane crash in the coastal waters of Masbate—now has the makings of a presidential contender. This, amid the rumors of the President's allegedly failing health, particularly after his motorcycle accident.
We wish the President well and hope he recovers and finishes his six-year term of office.
This early, the 2022 presidential elections is already starting to sizzle. Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Dick Gordon, Manny Pacquiao and now Robredo should make 2022 very interesting. Then, there are also other wannabes like industrialist Ramon Ang and the allegedly Chinese candidate Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.
Incidentally, let us not overlook retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio who has been championing the country's sovereignty and victory at The Hague. The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling rejected Beijing's claim to nearly all of the South China Sea.
We welcome Carpio to our ranks with the report he is going to write a weekly column in a major daily. His long years of service in the judiciary should serve him in good stead in writing a circumspect column.
Incidentally, Chinese vessels fired warning flares against a Greek ship manned by a Filipino skipper. The Department of Defense as usual downgraded the incident which happened in international waters in the South China Sea. This is a case which Carpio would no doubt not accept as it could trigger a shooting war between a rising China and the United States which demands that vital international sea lanes in the South China Sea remain unimpeded.
Let us hope that the US vessels are not subjected to Chinese harassment. Let us remember that the US got involved in the American-Spanish war because of the sinking of the US ship Maine at Havana harbor in Cuba and also the sinking of another US ship that triggered the latter’s involvement in the Vietnam War. China should take a lesson from history that big wars started with the sinking of a ship. The flashpoints for such incidents could happen in the South China and the Straits of Hormuz near Iran where foreign oil tankers pass.