EDITORIAL - VP Leni must learn to appreciate safety

The Freeman

Will somebody please tell Vice President Leni Robredo to stop taking the bus. Her notions about humility and simplicity, while admirable, are no longer in keeping with her new role as vice president. The great importance of her office to the national interest makes it necessary and imperative that she subordinate her intrinsic desires and personal preferences to what her office demands.

Judging by the body language of Leni, it would appear that she has completely missed the point about her job. In virtually all of her utterances since winning the vice presideny, Leni has been talking about how she can pursue her advocacies such as helping the poor and those in the outermost fringes of society. There is no argument about the worthiness of these causes and that there is no stopping her if she wants to do so.

But she must be made to understand that her only job description is to take over the presidency in case the sitting president is no longer able to perform his functions for whatever reason. To be able to do that, to be able to carry out the mandate the people have given her, she needs to be prepared to take over at any time. A large part of that preparation is for her to stay safe all the time.

Leni may have felt safe and comfortable riding a bus all her life. But she is now the vice president. The vice presidency changes all that. Riding unsecured public transport is no longer safe for someone as highly placed as she is now. There is no dearth of possible motives for anyone to want to harm the vice president. In fact, Leni must be made to understand that even her children must no longer be allowed to ride public transport.

There are large security issues that come with her high office, issues that attach as well to members of her immediate family. These are no longer times when even presidents can walk unaccompanied down city streets. The world is going through increasingly troubled and dangerous times. Leni should have come to grips with that reality by now, as obviously she has not prior to declaring for the vice presidency.

If Leni was paying attention, there is a real and pragmatic reason why the vice president-elect had to take oath ahead of the president-elect. And that is because a vice president has to be qualified first before any succession, if warranted, can take place. Imagine the mess if a president becomes incapacitated and no vice president has been qualified to take his place.

That is how important the vice presidency is. Assigning the vice president other jobs such as a Cabinet position or whatever else may fancy the assigning power or the assignee is not what makes the vice presidency important. It is the assurance that a quick, smooth and peaceful succession of power can take place if the need arises that is. So please make the vice president understand that her safety and availability are now what matters.


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