Social media rumors that led to Leni Robredo’s ‘bring it on’ stance

April 27, 2018 - 12:37 PM
Vice President Leni Robredo
Vice President Leni Robredo speaking in front of people. (Office of the Vice President/File photo)

Vice President Leni Robredo vowed on Twitter to finally stand up against “fake news” being circulated about her because she “can no longer let lies go unchallenged.”

The tweet came after Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao wrote an opinion piece about Robredo and suggested that Robredo conferred with European Parliament officials during her last trip to Germany.

The opinion writer claimed it was Robredo and her colleagues in the Liberal Party who urged European lawmakers to release a resolution condemning extrajudicial killings during President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.

This is how Robredo reacted:

She talked to the members of the German government and civil society organizations about poverty and social injustice.

Because she’s had it.

Even Tiglao’s column about the opposition party’s Germany visit, Robredo had been the subject of rumors, speculation and bashing on social media. Her daughters were neither spared from the partisan exchanges.

Here are a few of the social media-based rumors and criticisms she addressed:

1. The tax-funded Germany trip. Robredo was accused of using taxpayers’ money for her trip to Germany but she said it was a study visit program the non-profit Friedrich Naumann Foundation sponsored. She and Liberal Party associates discussed governance, poverty and social justice.

2. ‘Leni leaks.’ One of the major accusations against Robredo was over her supposed spearheading of a covert campaign to destabilize the Duterte administration. Government bloggers wrote about what they called #LeniLeaks composed of screenshots from a supposed email thread with a US-based group. The posts, however, were already public since years back and the platform allows members to include email addresses of anybody.

Vice President Leni Robredo looks on as she stands in front of a podium. (Office of the Vice President/File photo)

3. ‘Naga leaks.’ Blog posts claimed that the vice president’s late husband, former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, was linked to a drug trade and illegal gambling. He was also accused of assassinating a former ally. Online detractors named the so-called revelations #NagaLeaks after Robredo’s hometown.


Why the hate? 

In an interview, Robredo shared her assumptions on the origin of the extreme hate she receives online.

In response, she tagged her vice presidential rival, former senator Bongbong Marcos:

“I think he’s been spending a lot on social media to vilify me. Pero sa akin naman, at the end of the day, evil will not triumph. I’m not really concerned in the sense that dadating din ‘yung panahon na ‘yung katotohanan ‘yung lalabas.”

Ever since she won the vice presidency, Robredo has been the target of various cyberbullying and hate, especially by Duterte’s supporters.

Carmel Abao, political analyst from Ateneo de Manila University, had said Robredo’s association with the former ruling party is her “weakness.” Members of the Liberal Party are derogatorily called “dilawan” or “yellows” and are depicted as opposite to the incumbent ruling party, the PDP-Laban.

The academic said Robredo is “an independent woman inside an old political party of veteran politicians.”

Robredo has actively voiced her disagreement on several policies of Duterte’s administration, while also having previously voiced criticisms of other Liberal Party stalwarts.