If we are to probe Leni Robredo together, to see the truth or what is behind it, because her persona is a matter of national importance, we need to see beyond the sonic display of public statements. What she projects in public may be different from what she adheres to or believes in personally.
We have to start with her words. From our vantage point her words evidence her core. Here, we are dealing with the public Leni and whatever impression she may have created as a private individual adds to the public’s perception of what she is and/or who she is. We will limit ourselves to the public Leni with all her accumulated impressions.
A headline reads, “Leni wants to put a stop to Duterte’s war on drugs.” In that story Leni says, “the war on drugs is a failure.” In a televised interview later, she denies her own pronouncements and disputes she ever mentioned such, and also now says that she did not mean for Duterte to ‘stop,’ but for him to ‘tweak’ his war on drugs. Despite the ‘correction’ she now tries to inflict on the meaning she wanted to relay and convey, and whether it is a “stop” or a “tweak,” international news agency Reuters decided to stand by its initial story, the ‘stop’ version, with no ‘tweak’ in the offing.
Whether the first story was accurate or not, and that Leni could be ‘changing gears’ through her ‘correction,’ the ‘implied’ fact remains, she recognizes that Pres. Duterte ‘should not stop’ this war on drugs, but that she deems he should ‘tweak’ it.
News agency Reuters knows there’s a universe of difference between “stop” and “tweak.” “Stop,” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary is defined (transitive verb): 1 (a) to close by filling or obstructing; (b) to hinder or prevent the passage of; (c) to get in the way of: be wounded or killed by; 2 (a) to close up or block off (an opening): plug; (b) to make impassable: choke, obstruct; (c) to cover or fill in (a hole or crevice); 3 (a) to cause to give up or change a course of action; (b) to keep from carrying out a proposed action: restrain, prevent; (intransitive verb): 1 (a) to cease activity or operation; (b) to come to an end, especially suddenly: close, finish; 2 (a) to cease to move on: halt; (b) pause, hesitate; 3 (a) to break one’s journey: stay; while “tweak,” on the other hand, (transitive verb): 1) to make usually small adjustments in or to: fine-tune; 2) to injure slightly; 3) to pinch (a person or body part) lightly or playfully.
Coming from Vice President Robredo’s lips, ‘stop’ in Reuters’ version, denotes that the confiscated tons of illegal drugs, submission of hundred thousands of drug dependents to rehabilitation, arrests of drug offenders, investigations and arrests of drug-tainted police officers, including certain generals, and thousands of deaths due to the campaign are all for naught.
“To tweak. . .” as Mrs. Robredo later on expressed on television cameras means Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs is correct, except that he needs to make some minor changes or adjustments, and it will be all right.
Reuters attests before the whole world that its Robredo ‘stop’ report is accurate; and places its reputation on the line for that story. If accurate, then Robredo was simply careless or has the capacity to be indifferent to something that is crucial and of paramount importance to the nation, that she follows political party narratives at the expense of the truth. Such quality of a person has no business being in public office. Else she may repeat the error, as that of the Yolanda tragedy, when thousands of dead bodies piled up in the aftermath of the super-typhoon. The Aquino administration at that time (the same political party she belongs to), downplayed the truth, reported that “just a few hundreds died,” until photos of the dead flooded social media and foreign media exposed the real number before the whole world. That was one of the many acts of insensitivity committed by the previous administration, that made victims of tragedies twice over. The people do not want a repeat of that.
So if we follow her assertion that she meant “to tweak,” we can approximate that Mrs. Robredo has a degree of appreciation of the war on drugs; and contrary to the perception that she is overly critical of the President, she revises and rebrands her public image, boldly countering her national and international persona.
With the ‘stop’ report Leni is absolutely undesirable; the ‘tweak’ report, on the other hand, suggests a Leni who has in her sleeves a more refined approach in the war on drugs, therefore suggesting desirability. In the latter Leni, there is a trace of cooperativeness, even a possibility for the spirit of national unity in support of President Duterte’s campaign. In accepting the President’s offer to co-chair with Duterte in this campaign, from a previous function as ‘mere’ bystander, she officially becomes a part of the war on drugs.
The people are now watching and waiting for the ‘tweak.’