Faith is allegiance, commitment, service for the thought, belief conviction translates into action. There is allegiance to comm-unity, it’s culture and tradition. There is allegiance to one’s own people when one is their “public servant” or “servant leader” – Gemino H. Abad
“Once in a rare while, we come across servant leaders who do make us proud of our country and people. It is our prayer that her example can inspire a generation,” writes Ed Garcia, author of a beautifully illustrated book on Vice President Leni Robredo.
In three parts, “To give and Not to Count the Cost,” To Fight and Not to Heed the Wounds,” and the Afterword, “To Toil and Not to Seek for Rest,” the book traces Leni Robredo’s journey which former Senator Bam Aquino describes as “Leni’s improbable win: From 1% to VP.”
Even by just reading the titles of each chapter, thanks to excellent editing by Danton Remoto, one can already glean the substance, philosophy, brand or style of our vice president’s leadership.
It starts with “Leave it to Leni” where author Chit Santos notes: “I see a woman who intuitively puts order in everything she undertakes.” In her three-year stint in Congress, she focused on people’s empowerment and needs of the disadvantaged; accountable governance focusing on people’s participation in decision-making, and poverty alleviation.
“Recalling an Improbable Journey” describes her deep sense of empathy – ability “to walk in the shoes of the other” and thus, “grounded, she shared her vision in words readily understood by the ordinary people in tsinelas.”
Dood M. Santos gives reasons for electing Leni in “TatakLeni: Mahusay, Matino, Magayon.”
“Rediscovering a Brave Band of Doing Politics,” describes her “taking a principled position in times of crisis, respect for historical truth, respect for Right to Life, Respect for Rights of Women, and Overcoming Adversity.
VP Leni is a game-changer. With her depth of understanding, it is possible to have politicians imbued with honesty, sincerity, integrity, and dedicated to serving those in the margins, according to Undersecretary Philip Dy.
“Transforming Rage into Courage” described how the VP translated this into concrete actions by catalyzing the formation of a movement that would “unleash the energies of half of the country’s population – our womenfolk, and by focusing on five strategic areas of endeavor – livelihood, peace, human rights, environment, and disaster preparedness.
She “explored a different path” in the belief that our future depends on a successor generation able to dedicate their lives to public service. Thus, the focus on learning from history, building character, competence, and courage, drawing inspiration from leaders like Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, and Pope Francis.
She also provided a fresh perspective on the war against drugs by accepting the President’s dare to take the challenge, saying it is worth the effort if by so doing, she can save one human life.
Dean Mel Sta. Maria noted: “Supporting VP Leni means not merely safeguarding her interests but also making sure our democratic institutions stand strong against undue attacks.” This explains why she had remained “unflappable” despite assaults on her.
Her run to the vice-presidency against all odds is explained as one due to her tenacity and a resolve made of steel.
To her three daughters, she is “everything we aspire to be – even tempered, level-headed, unaffected, but focused….my North Star,” says Tricia.
It is said that VP Leni thrives on the heat of battle. She framed the acceptance of the task assigned to her by saying she was ready to work knowing well its limitations. She said it best: “Are you ready for me?”
And she was right all along. They were not ready for her. She was data-driven, engaging in evidence-based process and consulting widely.
Today, with “tectonic shifts taking place in the economy because of the pandemic, we see the emergence of new heroes, according to Ed Garcia who also note tectonic shifts in public service such as the emergence of young leaders in local government as well as servant leaders.
The Afterword ends with this challenge: “A page has been turned, there is no turning back. Time to stand up, to be proud to be Filipino.”
Contributors in addition to those mentioned include Fr. Albert Alejo, SJ who wrote a poem entitled “Tagagising,” Gay Ace Domingo, Jim Pascual Agustin, Aika and Tricia Robredo, Hazel Lavitoria. Photos are from the Office of the Vice President, and Artwork by Celeste Lecaroz.
A blessed Christmas to all.
My e-mail, [email protected]