Robredo laments attacks vs daughters

Camille Elemia

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Robredo laments attacks vs daughters
'Iyong greatest fear ko is pagsisihan ko na kumandidato ako. Pagsisisihan ko lang naman iyon kapag may negative na epekto sa mga anak ko'

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, May 7, lamented the attacks against her daughters.

Robredo was a speaker at a forum in St Theresa’s College in Quezon City, where she was asked about her “fears” for her family.

In response, she said it has always been her prayer for her children to be shielded from the “viciousness” of the attacks against her.

“Kasi ‘pag naapektuhan na iyong mga bata, baka ayoko sabihin na the fight was not worth it. Pero I think ngayon iyong mga bata ko, iyong mga anak ko zen na din,” Robredo said during an open forum.

(Because if my children are affected, I don’t want to reach the point that I will say the fight was not worth it. But I think now my kids have also become zen.)

“Iyong greatest fear ko is pagsisihan ko na kumandidato ako. Pagsisisihan ko lang naman iyon kapag may negative na epekto sa mga anak ko. Kasi iyon nga, I’m the only parent left. Pero parang okay pa naman,” she added.

(My greatest fear is that I regret running. I would only regret it if my kids are negatively affected because I am the only parent left. But so far, they’re still okay.)

Robredo cited an instance where her eldest daughter Aika received attacks from the vice president’s detractors.

Critics of Robredo wrote a letter to Harvard University, where Aika received a scholarship, asking them to rescind the latter’s acceptance. She is set to leave on June 18 in time for the start of her classes on June 26. (READ: Robredo ‘proud mom’ as daughter gets into Harvard, Oxford)

The basis? Her mother’s alleged corrupt acts.

“And you know, the letter that she showed me was letter of my detractors to Harvard University. And the grounds na sinabi nila was iyong tuition daw kasi ay mahal. Ang mahal ng tuition. (And the ground was that the tuition is so expensive) My daughter is going on a scholarship. Pero iyong sabi nila, iyong gagastusin daw nung anak ko kasi wala naman daw akong legal na pagkukunan, iyong ninakaw namin na yaman (But they said, I have no legal means to get the money for the tuition, just through ill-gotten wealth) Robredo said.

Pero you know the viciousness, nakapasok iyong mga bata without any help from me. Nakapasok tapos ipapa-rescind mo lang. Kasi nakaw na yaman tsaka drugs iyong pinanggalingan nung ipapaaral sa anak ko,” she added.

(But you know the viciousness, she got in without any help from me. She got in and you want it to be rescinded. Because of alleged ill-gotten wealth and drugs as sources of tuition funds.)

The Vice President denied such accusations, which are part of a prospective impeachment complaint against her.

“Iyong mga nakaw na yaman madali siyang i-accuse sa iyo. But you can readily see kung sino iyong may nakaw na yaman. By the way they live their lives diba? Hindi iyan sa SALN iyan eh. Pero iyong araw-araw na ino-observe mo how they live their life eh. Diba hindi naman iyan natatago,” she said.

(It’s so easy to be accused of ill-gotten wealth but you can readily see who have that, by the way they live their lives right? It’s not based on SALN. But when you observe how they life their life daily, you cannot hide that.)

‘Fear for the country’

Robredo was also asked about her fear for the country, which she said is the “death of democracy.”

She expressed concern over the “weakening of institutions,” which should be the core of democracy.

“[As] for the country, I think the greatest fear is the death of democracy. There are so many, so many threats now and one of those which really scares us is the weakening of institutions,” she said.

Robredo said institutions are needed to make sure that the people’s voice would continue to be heard.

Hindi naman po magpapatalsik ng Presidente, hindi po iyon. I have no, I have no desire. Iyong sa akin ano po maayos lang natin,” she said.

(The President would not be ousted. I have no desire to do that. What I want is to fix this.)

One of the impediments, she said, is the proliferation of fake news and attacks on social media. (READ: Propaganda war: Weaponizing the internet)

“In fact, from the very start, I have been saying that, I think it is for the benefit of the entire country sana if the President and I can work very well together. Siyempre maraming, maraming balakid. And iyong isang balakid doon is I think social media (But of course there are many impediments. And one of which is social media),” said Robredo, referring to the attacks and “fake news” online.

Because social media is so pervasive now, so active, maraming sinsasabi na hindi totoo na naniniwala ang tao. And I think it’s creating the divide. We are so polarized now as a nation. And one of the reasons for that is social media,” she added. –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.