The Philippines’ Vice-President Leni Robredo is invited to address Bicolanos in B.C. on October 15. (Facebook)

Vancouver, B.C.

 

Is she allowed to leave the country ?

Analysis

By Ted Alcuitas

Will Vice-President Leni Robredo be able to come back to the country after her North American trip which includes Canada with the ‘Red October’ red-baiting tactic by the Philippine military going on.

Or will she ever be allowed to leave?

According to the military, ’Red October’  is the plot concocted by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in connivance with opposition parties to rise up and topple the government of Rodrigo Duterte.

It is barely ten days before  she is to address her fellow Bicolanos in this province as guest speaker at their 28th Anniversary gala celebration on October 15 at the Hilton Hotel in Metrotown. The Philippine Bicol Association of B.C. (PBABC) is a grouping of people from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur ,Catanduanes , Masbate and Sorsogon.

Robredo is the second high ranking government official  and the first elected person to visit Canada. In July 2017, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio ‘Jun’ Evasco was in Toronto to address the 17th Biennial Congress of Conbusac hosted by the Boholano Association of Canada.

We requested comments from the Philippine Consulate but did not receive any answer by posting date.

“With regards to that interview, we’re still trying to get VP Leni’s final schedule of activities, no press release at this time yet.There are few requests from invited guests for the same”, PBABC spokesperson Beth Cruz told pcn.com in an email.

 

In an interview with rappler.com last month, the Vice President voiced hope for the country and longed for a “different kind of leadership” alluding to the current authoritarian style of Duterte. 

She admits that she is cobbling a coalition to engage in debate about how best to mount an opposition, saying it is a “challenge to unite the opposition”.

“All is not lost”, she asserts.

Reports from the Philippines indicate frenzied efforts by the Duterte administration to ‘tag’ so-called de-stabilizers and prevent them from toppling the  beleaguered strongman Rodrigo Duterte.

Observers say the military is replicating the scenario by the Marcos dictatorship to whip up fear-mongering   against the Communists as a reason to declare martial law in 1972.

Using the same playbook, police have increased surveillance and tagging of opposition groups and personalities.

No one seems to be spared by the strategy, implemented with military precision just as in the Marcos era, to capture the enemies in a dragnet.

From church members to students and labour leaders, everyone who speak against the government are being tagged as enemies of the people.

President Rodrigo Duterte had said on several occasions that the Vice President was unfit to succeed him should there be a sudden vacancy in the presidency, and that the country would be “better off with a dictator” than with someone like Robredo as chief executive.

Duterte had also said that he preferred former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, who has an electoral protest against Robredo, to succeed him.

On Duterte’s crosshairs: Three of Duterte’s ‘enemies’ . From left, Senator Leila de Lima, imprisoned for close to two years now on trumped-up charges, former Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and Vice-President Leni Robredo. (Facebook)

“‘Yung sa akin lang, mas gusto ko sana is to show that there is a different kind of leadership and citizenship than what the present administration is showing us. Halimbawa, kung dinadaan sa dahas, dinadaan sa lakas ng boses ‘yung pamamaraan, gusto ko ipakita na ‘yung calm saka quiet courage, ‘yung resultang mabibigay, mas malaki,” she told rappler.com

(For me, I’d like to show that there is a different kind of leadership and citizenship than what the present administration is showing us. For example, if they’re doing things by force, by shouting, I want to show that you can have better results through calm and quiet courage.)

Her Canadian stop is part of her Istorya ng Pagasa project that features inspiring stories of overseas Filipino workers in the host countries. Last April, she went to London to launch the project to promote ‘hope and courage’ among overseas Filipinos (OFWs).

“Ang dami nating listeners from Canada na mga Pilipino kaya sana po ma-message niyo sa amin iyong mga kwentong alam niyo para pag-punta na namin dyan…ay ma-interview din po namin kayo,” Robredo, a lawyer, said.

(We have many Filipino listeners from Canada that’s why I hope you can message us the stories you know…so we can also interview them.)