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VP Robredo, surrender mansion!

If that is so, then the challenge is on Robredo to ask for a reduction in her office budget, too.




Like the rest of her confederates in the Liberal Party (LP), Vice President Leni Robredo has been publicly complaining that public funds are not being spent prudently during these deadly times of COVID-19.

Robredo also took a swipe at the allegations of widespread corruption among top officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp., or PhilHealth, and their conspirators from the private sector.

“Marami sa nagkakasakit hindi kayang bayaran iyong cost ng kaniyang hospitalization, ng kanyang medication (Most of those who get sick cannot afford the cost of hospitalization, of medication),” Robredo was quoted by reporters.

Observers see Robredo’s latest public commentary as another desperate attempt to be politically relevant. Last week, she was criticized for her cosmetic attempt to look “presidential” when she sported a new hairdo during an appearance on social media. She also wore eyeglasses and several books were on her table.

Former film actress Vivian Velez slammed Robredo’s cosmetic politics and called it an attempt on Robredo’s part to look intelligent.

In 2019, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. called Robredo boba and suggested that someone from the public ought to give Robredo a brain.

Although Robredo repeatedly wails at what she says is the misuse of public funds, she currently lives in a luxurious mansion at the plush New Manila district of Quezon City.

All the expenses for her use of that mansion, including utilities, are paid for by public funds. That’s millions of pesos in taxpayers’ money spent just to make Robredo comfortable.

It is not certain, however, if Robredo charges her clothing expenses to the government, or if the LP uses the mansion as a regular meetina place.

Anyway, Robredo is the only Vice President of the Philippines to have the audacity to live in a mansion paid for by public funds. No other vice president has had that luxury. Past veeps were provided office space by the government, but they did not have the free use of a luxury mansion like the one Robredo uses today.

The Constitution only allows an official residence, to be paid for at public expense, for the President of the Philippines. None of the other heads of the coordinate branches of the national government — the Senate President, the House Speaker and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court — has an official residence in the National Capital Region paid for by public funds.

If the heads of the legislative and judicial branches of the national government do not have official residences, why should the Vice President, who is not even the head of a branch of the government, be entitled to an official residence?

For the record, the vice president has no constitutionally defined duty other than to succeed the president. Whatever function VP Robredo currently does, is not exactly defined by law.

Robredo can afford to pay for her own house, but she apparently prefers to live in the New Manila mansion because it does not cost her a single centavo to do so.

So much privilege for so little responsibility. Why, Robredo’s job is the best in the world!

Last week, it was reported in the news that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte asked that the annual budget of the Office of the President for 2021 be reduced to P8.23 billion, down from the 2020 budget of P8.25 billion.

If that is so, then the challenge is on Robredo to ask for a reduction in her office budget, too. Her office, after all, has less official expenses than the Office of the President does.

The savings generated from a reduction in Robredo’s annual budget can be added to the Social Amelioration Funds badly needed by economically displaced Filipinos during the current health crisis.

Robredo can begin by relinquishing the luxury mansion she is currently using at public expense — unless Robredo is not willing to put her money where her mouth is, which is very likely.

So, the next time Robredo decides to talk about the misuse of public funds, she should start with herself.