Sunday, October 11, 2015


Previously on Mariposa

"Ibibigay ko po ang aking sarili nang buong-buo sa ating mga kababayan, lalong lalo na sa inyong mga naka-tsinelas, na nasa labas, nasa ibaba at nasa laylayan ng lipunan."

Atty. Leni Robredo
Liberal Party Vice Presidential Candidate

Only last month she vowed, never to aspire for some higher government post, in a live interview during late night news. Part of the reason was her lack of experience: with just three years as representative of her district, she would rather draft laws to improve the lives of her constituents in Camarines Sur than wade through trash that is national politics. Unlike her late husband, who has been a mayor for almost two decades, she finds strength standing in the background, lending her mind, when needed, in creating policies that made Naga one of the most vibrant cities in Bicol. Her three young daughters are against this new idea. They knew it would change their lives. As the party she had faithfully served runs out of choices when the foundling they groomed to be the vice-president joined the presidential race, everyone who believes in grassroots leadership pleaded for her to have a change of heart. Even the current occupant of Malacanan, offered himself as a broker, so the straight path he envisioned would endure long after he exits the spotlight.

Leni, as she is affectionately called, comes across as a lady who walks among farmers and fishermen; the ordinary folks of the countryside who have less in life than the contract workers and mid-level managers of the cities. She speaks her mind, with reason and fairness that comes from the gut. In that same interview many nights ago, those who have heard her were carried away by her intelligence, she became a trending topic on social media the next day. Being a leader once, I knew her kind of mold. She speaks about servant leadership, and I thought it would be a great loss if the party she represents picks another person to take her place.

As negotiations went behind closed doors, fringe members of the party spoke of alternative candidates. There was the governor-for-all-seasons, as well as the feisty senator from Taguig. Even the House Speaker's name was also floated among the possible candidates. And as the media circus reaches a new crescendo, the core members of the Liberal Party finds no other choice: It's Leni or nothing. Symbolic her place maybe, but what better person to encapsulate the Daang Matuwid philosophy than the widow of the man who first embraced it?

Somewhere in her journey, between the party invitation and her acceptance is a soul searching for answers. "Why me?" Leni asked, when she spoke behind the podium at Club Filipino. "I have no money, not even a machinery to run a local campaign." The audience listened to her epiphany. Drawing strength from Jesse, who had never walk away when friends sought his help, she realized that her husband's legacy will be for naught, if she turns her back this one time her party desperately needs her. With resolve to carry on, not just her husband's Tsinelas leadership, but also the citizen empowerment enjoyed under Pnoy's time, Leni Robredo, at long last, embraced what her calling is all along.  

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