The portrait of outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo hangs high in the lobby of the Quezon City Reception House (QCRH) along with photos of other ex-vice presidents, a sign that its embattled top official has left the office that witnessed her triumphs and tribulations as the opposition’s leader for the last six years.
Although her term is not to end until noon of June 30, Robredo earlier said she wants to prepare the QCRH for incoming Vice President Sara Duterte, who will temporarily hold office there starting tomorrow.
Before leaving for the final time, she bid goodbye to the staff at the Office of the Vice President (OVP), many of whom are coterminous employees and would go their separate ways after June 30.
“Yung malungkot for me ‘yung mga taong maiiwan, mamimiss namin sila (What’s sad for me is those who will be left behind, we will miss them),” she said in her last media briefing as vice president.
As she looked back at the last six years, Robredo shared that she was most proud of the legacy she will leave behind, which is converting the OVP “from a mere ceremonial one into an advocacy-heavy one.”
Secondly, she is also proud that despite the “many limitations” because she was an opposition leader, the OVP was able to do a lot of things—being granted the ISO certification, receiving the unqualified opinion from the state auditors for four straight years, and taking care of the employees and staff.
“Mas magandang serbisyo ung nabibigay sa tao dahil ‘yung mga gumagawa ng serbisyo inspirado at naniniwala sila sa ginagawa nila (We were able to provide better service to the people because the public servants were inspired and they believe in what they do),” she said.
Even though things hadn’t always been easy for her, as she had to work amid a divisive political climate, Robredo assured she has no regrets and even sees her short-stint as Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) chair as one of her key moments at the OVP
“Kahit 18 days lang ang binigay lang sa amin (Even though we were only given 18 days), those were the best 18 days of our OVP life kasi talagang (because we really) we worked the hardest during those 18 days kasi alam namin na tatanggalin ako (I will be fired) at any time,” she shared.
“So ginawa namin iyon lahat (we did all that), and at the end of the day, nakapag-submit kami ng (we were able to submit) full-blown recommendations na (that’s) very satisfying siya. Very satisfying siya in the sense na alam namin na napakahirap iyon pero nagawa namin iyong dapat namin gawin (we know it was very difficult to do but we were able to do it),” Robredo added.
Also memorable to the outgoing Vice President were all the disaster relief operations they did because those sparked the volunteerism under her leadership, as well as their Covid-19 response initiatives.
Robredo said they did so much with so little because they truly wanted to help the Filipinos.
While she and the staff would’ve wanted things to be easier, she knew that their response would’ve been different and maybe even unsatisfying to their beneficiaries.
“Kasi lahat ng (Because all the) difficult decisions na ginawa ay nagturn (we did turned) out for the best. Kahit ‘yung (Even the) limitations that were thrown our way turned out to be blessings in disguise,” she said.
“Kasi (Because) looking back iniisip namin ng mga staff na siguro kung sobrang dali lang satin mag-request ng pera, hindi siguro tayo naging ganito ka-creative (we were thinking that if requesting for money had been easier, we would not have been this creative),” Robredo, who lamented that she could’ve done more with more resources, added.
She left the QCRH as the incumbent vice president for the last time at past noontime. And as her security detail gave her a send-off, the staff at the OVP cheered and watched as the unmarked black van passed by them carrying their boss of six years to become, once more, simply a citizen-lawyer.