Kasambahays ask Robredo: Are you angry at Bongbong?

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Are you angry at Bongbong Marcos?

This was one of the questions that household service workers or kasambahays had for Vice President Leni Robredo when she attended Tuesday a virtual forum with them, to which she replied no.

“I think we should not get angry at the person,” Robredo said in Filipino. “We should get angry at what they’re doing.”

Robredo and Marcos are facing off yet again as they are both running for president in the 2022 elections.

This is the third time that they would go against each other in a political contest, with the first one being the 2016 vice-presidential race and the second being the succeeding poll protest lobbed by Marcos at Robredo. Robredo won against Marcos in both instances.

Robredo said public officials like her and Marcos have obligations that if left unfulfilled should cause people to get angry.

“Us public officials, we have obligations. Our obligation is to be clean in our service, and if we don’t do that, the people should get angry at what we’re doing,” she said.

Robredo then brought up the massive corruption that happened when Marcos’ father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was in office. 

Billions were stolen from government coffers during the two-decade rule of the older Marcos. The Presidential Commission on Good Government recovered P174.23 billion of ill-gotten wealth so far and is still after P125.98 billion more.

Despite the rampant corruption that happened during their patriarch’s regime, the Marcos family has yet to apologize, let alone acknowledge, this fact.

Fake news

Robredo also brought up the misinformation circulating on social media about her, which she has blamed for her poor performance in surveys.

“Recently, this is my main concern … there’s a lot of fake news on social media. There’s a lot of fake news on social media and a lot of people believe in fake news,” she said in Filipino.

But she said that she does not fault the people who fall prey to false information online as she considers them to be victims too.

“That’s wrong because it’s our obligation to make sure that the information available is correct. Because all the people who are looking to us, they will decide based on the information that they get. The main problem is if the information being spread are lies, the people who decide get affected,” Robredo said.

While it appears that social media turned pink when Robredo announced her candidacy, beyond these feeds is an environment where the vice president is attacked and maligned, usually by supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Marcos family.

These attacks fuel suspicion that the state and the Marcoses run troll farms on social media, but they have repeatedly brushed off these allegations.

For Robredo, the way forward through the social media landscape that she described as “toxic” is to respectfully correct those who believe false information about her.

“We need to show to our countrymen that they are not the enemy. They are the ones being protected and being fought for,” she said.

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