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    Interview with Vice President Leni Robredo Wake Up With Jim and Saab Podcast Episode 162 Hosts: Jim Bacarro and Saab Magalona-Bacarro

    JIM AND SAAB: Welcome to Wake Up With Jim and Saab Podcast!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Okay, I think among all episodes—if you’ve never listened to our podcast—I think this is the only one that you should listen to. We have the Vice President of the Philippines.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yay!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Hi, Jim and Saab!

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Hi, VP!

     

    JIM BACARRO: So, we’d like to start. We just want to share, ako, personally, we want to say na thank you for being our source of sanity during this time kasi we’ve been pushing in our podcast that we should be responsible with our mental health but at the same time continue educating ourselves about what’s happening, the pandemic. And we just want to say, we commend you and we thank you because—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: You and your team.

     

    JIM BACARRO: You and your team [have] been our source of information, comfort, and guidance during this time.

     

    VP LENI: Hindi, ako, thank you din. Thank you, Jim and Saab. I told you even before that I have been watching you podcast already and nakikita ko talaga how committed you are to helping hindi lang iyong sa mental health pero iyong bringing about social change. Iyong sa akin, iyong episodes niyo, pati iyong IG ni Saab I follow also, sa amin din, source of, lalo na iyong mga bata, when your entries are about Pancho and Vito sobrang good vibes. So maraming salamat din. And Saab, thank you for volunteering to be one of our talents in one of our videos—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yes, yes.

     

    VP LENI: —for our initiatives with the education.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Oh yes, of course. It’s my pleasure, VP. So I think, sana… you know, kayo talaga deserving kayo of good sleep. Sana masarap ang tulog niyo kagabi and I wanted to ask, like, how many hours a night do you usually get to sleep?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, Saab, on an average siguro mga five—five to six hours of sleep. Iyon iyong aking average. There are times when I get to sleep seven, eight hours, sobrang bonus na iyon. And it’s very, very seldom that I get that much sleep. So ako, averaging five to six hours siguro.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Okay, okay. That’s a—I mean I was thinking baka you didn’t get enough sleep because of all the stuff that you’re able to achieve in a day so… Speaking of which, I wanted to know if you could share, what is your morning routine? What time do you usually wake up and are you as crazy about like a set of routine as some people?

     

    VP LENI: [laughter] Ako, ako, sa akin, it changes, it was so different pre-pandemic because pre-pandemic, my second daughter, si Tricia, was still a student. She was an intern. So when she has duty na very early in the morning, I make sure that I wake up ahead of her so that I can take care of her baon, I can take care of all of her needs. Pero during the pandemic kasi parang so many things changed.  I don’t… I don’t wake up as early as I used to. Kasi before mga 5:30 AM I’m up. Pero ngayon parang ano na, mas between 6:30 to 7 AM na ako gumigising because Tricia is out of school already. She’s out of school already. She still does hospital duty pero not as intense as before. Tapos ano, I don’t go to the office as early as I did before. Kasi before I will be here mga 8:00 o’clock in the morning so mga 6:30 AM nag-aayos na ako. Pero ngayon, ngayon, especially from March last year until siguro mga December last year, I would go mga 10 o’clock in the morning kasi skeleton staff kami. But starting January this year, parang bumabalik na nang kaunti to normal so I’m here ulit. Kanina I was here 8:00 o’clock. So between 8:00 and 9:00 AM I’m here already. So paggising ko, I take care of the stuff for the kids—hindi na nga kids kasi 20, 30s na iyong mga anak ko pero I still look at them as young children. Ngayon, I would have time to hear mass online. Nakakapagkape ako. Dati, nakakapagkape ako dito lang sa opisina kasi laging nagmamadali.

     

    So during the pandemic, parang I’m not here in the office as long as I used to. Kasi dati, nakakalabas ako madilim na. Ngayon kasi we make it a point na, parang between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evening, makauwi na iyong mga tao kasi we shuttle them now because mahirap pa iyong transport, ‘di ba. If I’m here late, hindi rin sila nakakauwi kasi hinihintay nila ako. So ngayon, I try to get out of the office at least by 5:00 o’clock.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Okay, okay.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Question, VP, kasi actually, iyong sa podkids namin, you know, these kids are very addicted to different productivity hacks, productivity apps. Is there a certain app that you use that you think like, “oh my gosh, kailangan ko talaga ito”?

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Or do you still use a pen and notebook—

     

    VP LENI: Ako, medyo low-tech ako, eh. Ano ako, old school. Mas ano pa ako, halimbawa, as far as schedules [are] concerned, parang I never get used to using the schedule app on my iPhone. Ano pa rin ako, iyong schedule ko naka-hard copy. When I edit—kasi they send me, halimbawa, speeches, halimbawa messages, they send me drafts for me to edit. Hindi ko kaya mag-edit—sa laptop, oo pero hindi ko kaya sa phone. Hindi ko kaya sa tablet. I can only edit using the laptop. Tapos when I have ideas—iyong mga anak ko kasi nakikita ko na kapag—parang if they want to, parang be reminded of things, nilalagay nila sa notes o sa alerts—I don’t do that. Sa akin, I’m always with a pad and a pen, even when I go to sleep. Kasi alam mo iyon, I don’t know if you experienced it pero kapag gabi, what keeps me up is naiisip ko iyong mga gagawin ko the next day. So ako, nasa bedside ko na iyong pad at saka pen so whenever I remember something, sinusulat ko na kaagad. Kasi if I don’t do that, hindi ako nakakatulog. Hindi ako nakakatulog kasi siguro, I get worried na I might forget about that the following day.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: That’s a good tip—a way to empty your mind before… para makatulog. That’s a good tip. I should do that kasi ang dami talagang—

     

    VP LENI: Oo, ‘di ba.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: So kayo, hindi kayo—you know what doom scrolling is?

     

    VP LENI: Ano iyon?

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Iyong parang kapag matutulog ka na pero nasa-stuck ka na sa phone mo nagso-scroll lang sa social media tapos hindi ka makatulog… [laughs]

     

    VP LENI: Ako, sometimes pero ngayon kasi… I think this started during the pandemic. Parang nasanay akong maglaro. Ang nilalaro ko Sudoku.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Oh! I love Sudoku!

     

    VP LENI: Oo, parang before I sleep, naglalaro ako noon. Tapos iyong mga anak ko kasi nagsusubscribe sila sa, halimbawa sa New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist. Nagsusubscribe sila doon so nakiki-angkas ako. And I only have time to do that in the evening when I’m ready to go to sleep. Kasi kapag nasa office na wala na, eh. Kapag nasa office na ang dami nang ginagawa. So pag-uwi ko naman sa bahay, lalo na now that I go home much earlier than before, nagluluto ako.

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Oh!

     

    VP LENI: Yes. Parang 90 percent of the time, I’m the one who cooks dinner. Iyong panganay ko because she also works from home now, she’s the one who cooks for lunch, except if mayroon akong mga outside commitments, siya rin iyong nagluluto ng dinner. Pero now—

     

    JIM BACARRO: Pero, sorry, what are your usual dishes? Ano iyong parang proud na proud ka na—

     

    VP LENI: Ako, alam mo, hindi ako mahusay magluto pero I benefit from a lot of YouTube recipes. Iyong site ni Marjorie Barretto fina-follow namin iyon kasi madali iyong recipes eh. Mayroon ding isang site na ang pangalan niya Simpol—S-I-M-P-O-L. I also follow that. So paminsan iyong mga bata nagsasabing, “gusto namin itong kainin.” So maghahanap ako ng recipe. Parang because of technology, everything is so easy already. Parang housekeeping has been much easier now than it was before. So iyon, I enjoy cooking for my children.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Aww, that’s a good bonding experience that you get to cook with them. Aside from—yeah, go ahead.

     

    VP LENI: Pero ano rin, I think for politicians like us, it is very important to have a private life. It’s very important to have a private life away from your political life. Kasi I think that will help me, parang—kasi nakikita ko sa mga politiko  kapag nakapasok, nahihirapan nang lumabas, alam mo iyon? Parang siguro nahihirapan sila and I didn’t see that in my husband. Parang for him, it was so easy to step back. So iniisip ko lang, siguro if I exert effort in trying to maintain, parang as much normalcy in my life as possible, it would be easy for me also to make decisions, to step back if I need to. So ako, I try that—I try to do that as much as I can. Parang from the experience also when my husband was still alive.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: So speaking of the late great Jesse Robredo, I think a lot of people have already read about your love story. But for those who haven’t heard about it, ako na magre-recap—hindi, joke lang [laughter]. So you guys met when? Right after you graduated, ano, and before you went to study Law, you looked for a job in, something to do with economics.

     

    VP LENI: Yes, economic development in Bicol.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: So you want to tell them how you met and were there sparks right away or ano ba? [chuckles]

     

    VP LENI: Ako, sa akin, at least as far as I am concerned, there were no sparks right away because I saw him as my boss. Kasi ano iyon, Jim and Saab, parang… my Dad was a lawyer and a judge so I was the eldest, very traditional na susunod ka sa yapak ng tatay mo. So when I was studying Economics in UP sabi ng Tatay ko, “You will take up Law.” And it was something that I also wanted to do. So iyon na iyon. Iyon na iyong path ko. But EDSA happened. The People Power Revolution happened in my senior year in college. And I became very active in street demonstrations before nangyari iyon. So when EDSA happened, we had a new president. Parang I felt like—I was 21 at that time—I felt I wanted to be part of the change that was happening. So nagpaalam ako na magtatrabaho ako for one year in government and my Dad agreed. Pero tinitingnan ko kasi noon, NEDA kasi Economics ako. Iyong si Professor Monsod was my professor. She was appointed Director General of NEDA. I had other professors appointed also in NEDA. So iyon iyong aking career path. But when I went home after graduation for summer break, I learned that there was this office like NEDA but this was for Bicol development, who [was] looking for Economics graduates. And I had classmates from grade school and high school who got recently hired at that time. So I decided to give it a try. Pero before—hindi ko ito na-mention doon sa Humans of Pinas—before I went for the interview, I was already hearing a lot of good things about Jesse. Parang sinasabi nila, mahusay, matino, very progressive mag-isip, etc. So ganoon na iyong parang… ganoon na iyong expectations ko. Pero during my first interview, napahiya kayo.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yeah, that’s what’s struck me, VP. Iyong—si Jim hasn’t had the chance to read that so I think this is very, very impressive—grabe, this is what really made my heart melt and parang grabe the respect that we all had for Jesse Robredo because of—and this is just like an example of that.

     

    VP LENI: Totoo.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Please tell the story.

     

    VP LENI: I felt, Saab, na baka hindi na ako matanggap because of that kasi iyong kuwento among friends na makakatulong daw kung humingi ako ng recommendation from the governor. Kasi daw the head, sina Jesse na iyon, was a nephew of the governor. So ako naman, parang alam mo, we just, parang katatapos lang ng Martial Law, iyon iyong kalakaran dati, it was not that ganoon din iyong paniniwala ko pero I thought it would help pave the way for my being hired. So iyong Dad ko was a friend of the governor. Sinabihan ko iyong Dad ko na “puwede ba tayong makahingi ng recommendation kasi makakatulong daw.” So iyong Dad ko naman humingi ng recommendation sa Governor. So pag-submit ko ng application letter, the recommendation was there. Pero pagpasok ko pa lang sa office—first interview ito; this was my first meeting with Jesse—pagpasok ko sa office nakaupo siya pero naka, ano iyon, naka…

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Kunot?

     

    VP LENI: Nakakunot iyong noo. Tapos hindi niya ako pinaupo. Parang, ang tanong kaagad niya sa akin: “What’s this?” So hindi ko naiintindihan. Hindi ko siya maintindihan anong tinatanong niya. So tinanong ko siya siguro two or three times na parang, “pardon? What do you mean?” Hanggang nakita ko hawak niya iyong recommendation letter. So ako, oops. Parang ganoon na kaagad. Parang binuhusan ako ng malamig na tubig. Alam ko na na bad iyon. Parang sinabi niya na, “this was what EDSA was about.” Na hindi ito kailangan kapag nag-a-apply ng trabaho. “This was what we fought against.” Parang something to that effect.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Wow.

     

    VP LENI: So siyempre, nag-apologize ako. So sinasabi niya, matatanggap ka lang dito based on your merits pero ito, I will treat this as a scrap of paper. So parang—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Grabe.

     

    VP LENI: So I left the interview na sinasabi ko na, ‘di ba, parang, “that goes my chance of being hired.” So wala na, I never expected to be called again. Pero I was called for another interview. He was so professional. So sa akin, while napahiya ako, parang iyon iyong umpisa na humanga—humanga ako na ito nga naman iyong pinaglaban natin sa EDSA tapos napahiya ako na ipinaglaban natin ito pero ginagawa ko rin iyong dating kalakaran. So iyon, iyon.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Mahirap na kasi to fight back against the norms, ‘di ba. So you think na parang, oh well, you know, nothing’s gonna change, really. But then you made people like him and for me and Jim, I feel like you are one of those people na parang, “oh wow, this is different.” And that’s why, wala, ako, sobra akong—I’m so inspired by you, VP, and everything that you do for women equality especially and just giving, women especially, the chance to lead and to just create their own paths. Kasi sabi niyo nga, ‘di ba, when you are younger, that was the pay na parang kung iyong parents mo ganito, gawin mo rin iyong gusto nila. I mean, no one really questioned it. But now that we are in a different generation and there’s technology and everyone is able to research more about their opportunities, is there something that you can advice the younger people, parang when they’re—ang problema naman ngayon is there are so many choices and now they can decide like, “ano ba, what will really make me happy or—but will also make me money? What will my parents like? What will I—“ parang, “I’m not sure what I like.” What can you advise these younger people about finding happiness or contentment? Is there anything you would share from your experience?

     

    VP LENI: Alam mo, Saab and Jim, parati kong naalala, again, iyong yumao kong asawa kasi when Aika, the eldest, when Aika was still new in her first job, parang there was a time na she felt that she wasn’t happy anymore. Parang nagsi-seek siya ng advice sa asawa ko na mag-resign na, parang, “ano kaya mag-resign na ako tapos maghanap na lang ako ng ibang trabaho? Kasi para sa akin, parang hindi na ako masaya.” And my husband at that time sent an e-mail to my daughter and I think, naalala ko nga parang several years ago, my daughter posted on Facebook a copy of that e-mail. Parang para sa akin, maganda siyang advice for new graduates, for young people. Iyong advice ng asawa ko dinaan niya sa kuwento. Parang sinabi niya na, “alam mo iyong bata pa ako ganiyan din ako sa iyo. Pero number one, ano kasi, parang kailangan tayo maging responsible. Kahit ayaw natin iyong ginagawa natin kailangan pa rin na gawin natin nang maayos.” Para bang sinasabi lang doon na talagang iyong buhay naman, you would come across work that you will not enjoy. Pero it is still our responsibility to do the best that we can to do the work that we are tasked to do—iyon iyong number one. Iyong number two naman, iyong happiness ikaw iyong gagawa, eh. Hindi iyon puwedeng nakadepend sa trabaho mo, hindi iyon puwedeng nakadepend sa asawa mo, hindi iyon puwedeng nakadepend sa ibang tao. Pero how you—parang how you respond to what is given to you is what will bring you happiness.

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Yeah.

     

    VP LENI: Kasi halimbawa, halimbawa sa—iyong buhay ko maraming pagsubok. Maraming pagsubok in the sense na kailangan kong pagtrabahuan nang grabe, kailangan kong pagsakripisyuhan nang grabe iyong maraming bagay na gusto kong makamit. Pero at the end of the day, masaya. Masaya ka kasi ginawa mo iyon lahat. Tapos parang sinasabi ng asawa ko sa anak ko dati na darating ka sa time na you will look back at all the journey you went through and you will realize that the dots will connect. Iyong lahat na ginagawa mo bahagi ng where you will be sometime in the future. So dahil magiging—parang walang sayang, walang tapon. Kaya dapat every step that you do, you have to do well. Kasi bahagi iyan, parang that will determine where you will get in the future. So para sa anak ko, it has been very helpful. Halimbawa noon, she was already unhappy pero she was responsible enough to still do well the work that was given to her. Naghanap siya ng ibang trabaho pero hindi niya iniwan iyong trabaho niya hanggang hindi niya naayos. So very helpful siya. Kasi parang ang problema kasi, Saab, kapag bata pa, ako I went through that also, I don’t know if you’ve gone through that phase as well, parang paminsan may feeling ka na the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Pero ano iyon eh, ano talaga siya, eh, myth. Kasi iyong happiness ikaw talaga iyong gagawa.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yeah, that’s true.

     

    JIM BACARRO: So, VP, if that’s the case, ‘di ba, in this job, you know, I mean, we’d like to know, parang, what are the moments that you can say, that you can recall, the moments that you are reminded na, “Oh, man, this is all worth it.” Parang ano iyong mga moments or like especially during these times that you’ve felt like, “Oh my gosh…”

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Oh yeah, you’ve been attacked and there have been crazy things na parang, you know, for the normal non-VPs of the Philippines, we all have been dealing with our mental health but I wanted to know rin before you answer this question now na what makes it all worth it, I wanted to ask you personally, how do you deal with it being in the spotlight for like 24/7 basically? How do you deal with taking care of your mental health? What do you do—do you step away from social media? Pinagbabawalan ka ba ng kids mo like to look at all the bad comments? What do you do, do you meditate? I don’t know, I would love to hear from you and learn from you.

     

    VP LENI: Ako actually, Saab, hindi ko alam if it is a gift. Pero even when I was not yet in politics, hindi ako madaling ma-affect. Hindi ako madaling ma-affect by a lot of things. And reklamo nga iyan sa akin, reklamo sa akin ng aking mga anak na masyado raw akong NR, parang no reaction. So I think ano iyon, palagay ko gift siya na for me to deal with, parang the ugliness of the world that I am in. Pero sa akin halimbawa, ang dami sa aking tumitira. Ang daming kasinungalingan. Pero do I get affected by them? Ako, no. Sinasabi ng friends ko na huwag ka nang magbasa. Pero ako, I read, eh. I read and hindi ako naaffect na in the sense na do I lose sleep over them? Do I get depressed because of the many things that are being said about me? Ako, no. And tingin ko, iyong pinakamahalaga kasi sa lahat clear conscience, na hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi nila. Siguro sad. Siguro sad ikaw. Siguro sad ako na maraming naniniwala kasi hindi naman ako kilala. Pero para kasi sa akin, Saab, klaro sa akin, eh: what are things that last? Iyong power, iyong popularity, fleeting ito, eh. Fleeting lahat ito. Pahiram lang ito lahat. Iyong mundo bilog. Puwedeng iyong lahat na power at saka popularity nasa sa iyo ngayon pero hindi iyan assurance na bukas nandiyan pa rin. Ano iyong mga nagla-last? Iyong mga nagla-last, character, integrity, iyong concept of right and wrong, hindi naman iyon nababago overtime, eh, ‘di ba. Iyong pamamatay ng tao mula noon hanggang ngayon mali iyon. Iyong pananakit sa ibang tao mula noon hanggang ngayon mali iyon, ‘di ba. Iyong pagnanakaw, iyong—parang there are things that whether you are popular or not, whether you’re in power or not, iyong masama, masama. Iyong tama, tama. Para sa akin, iyon iyong aking driving force. Na kahit ginaganiyan niyo ako, iyong at the end of the day iyong magtatagumpay kung ano iyong tama at saka ano iyong totoo.

     

    So ako, iyon sa akin, parang—hindi ako, parang hindi ako… parang nagiging, paminsan siguro nagiging impatient ako. Nagiging impatient ako na, parang ano ba naman, parang iyong tao very obvious na kasinungalingan pinapaniwalaan pa rin. Pero at the same time, alam ko na darating iyong panahon na nakikita natin na iyong tao pipiliin niya pa rin iyong tama at saka totoo. So sa akin, nakakatulong siguro that I don’t have political ambitions. Kasi siguro, if nag-aambisyon ako maging pangulo for example, siguro, alam mo iyon, pinapatulan ko na lahat para lang maayos iyong aking pangalan. Wala sa aking ganoon na pressure, eh. Wala sa aking ganoon na pressure na kailangan kong depensahan iyong sarili ko kasi baka maapektuhan iyong chances ko sa 2022. So wala iyon. At dahil wala iyon, very liberating siya. Very liberating in the sense na…

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Wait—noooo! [laughter]

     

    VP LENI: Sa akin naman, sa akin naman, Jim and Saab, it’s not saying na I’m not open to running. It’s not that. Pero sa akin, hindi ako nag-aambisyon. Ang sa akin kasi—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Okay, I get it.

     

    VP LENI: Even when I ran for Congress, parang I ran, it was an accident. Parang in a way it was an accident. I filed my certificate of candidacy parang last hour just to fill in a gap. So iyon iyong nangyari. Parang when I ran for the vice presidency, never in my wildest dreams have I  thought that I will run for VP. Kasi ordinaryo lang naman iyong buhay ko, I was a lawyer, I was working with the communities for the longest time. Siguro kung sinabi mo sa akin a month before I filed my certificate of candidacy, parang, “no way.” Pero ganoon ang nangyari. I don’t know if it is being fatalistic pero ako ang pakiramdam ko kasi kung nakatakda iyan sa iyo, kahit saan ka tumago mangyayari iyan. Pero it’s liberating in that sort of way, alam mo iyon, na hindi mo inaambisyon. Kasi ang mahirap kapag inaambisyon, parang you’re willing to make compromises already, lalo sa pulitika. Sa pulitika gusto mo ganito— Halimbawa, halimbawa, ang pinakamagandang example siguro, every time I criticize the President, because he’s very popular, talagang pinuputakte ako ng ang daming trolls. Every time I criticize the President, iyong ano iyon—hindi iyong awareness—iyong ratings ko sa surveys bumababa. So sa akin, kung ayaw kong bumaba iyon, kahit nakikita ko na iyong patayan, kahit nakikita ko na iyon dismal performance sa COVID-19 response, hindi na lang ako iimik. Parang I will keep my mouth shut. Kasi every time I open my mouth and tell, parang criticize this administration, aatakihin ako, bababa iyong ratings ko sa survey. Pero because I don’t have—parang I don’t have those political ambitions, parang libreng libre ako to say what I want, parang to fight for what I think is right without being concerned of my numbers.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Wow. I respect that so much grabe.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Sobra akong na-inspire. [laughter]

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Sobrang #peg.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Actually, VP, ano, gusto ko lang i-share, one thing that really struck me when my Dad told me, sabi niya sa akin, I wish na maabutan ko iyong in my lifetime na ano, na parang makita natin na, you know, na mag-improve iyong country and we get to ano, a status that’s thriving. And I just want to say na you know… you know hearing you talk, it’s so refreshing and I’m sure, you know, our podkids, you know, and the listeners of this podcast feel that way kasi parang honestly, that’s—it’s true, iyong sinasabi niyo.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: And it’s so crazy that’s rare, ‘di ba.

     

    VP LENI: Hindi, pero ano naman, ako, Jim, parang dati kasi masyado rin kasing extreme, masyadong—parang ang taas ng idealism ko. Pero actually when I entered politics, there were a lot of realities that, parang I came across with. Ang isa doon iyong, parang iyong future talaga ng bansa natin hindi siya nakasalalay sa isang tao lang. Having said that, ngayon kasi parang maraming sa aking nagsasabi na, “ikaw lang iyong pag-asa namin, ikaw iyong nakikitaan namin ng pag-asa.” Parang sa akin, hindi siya totoo in the sense na wala naman sa akin iyong solusyon, eh. Wala sa akin iyong—parang I don’t pretend to know all the answers. Parang I don’t pretend to be the politician there is. Pero iyong sa akin, tingin ko iyong mahalaga siguro sa isang public official, hindi naman kailangan elected iyong posisyon pero when you’re in a leadership position, mahalaga siguro iyong trait [na] iyong ability to inspire. Kasi iyong tingin ko kasi iyong solusyon talaga wala sa akin o kay presidente, pero nasa atin lahat, eh. And iyong ability to inspire, iyon iyong magdo-draw ng, iyong energies, iyong magdo-draw ng energies na pagtulung-tulungan natin ito. Kasi iyong pinaka—iyon iyong nararamdaman ko ngayon.

     

    Paminsan may certain level of desperation at saka frustration na kapag nakikita ko iyong numbers, parang alam ko naman kung ano iyong totoo, alam ko ano iyong tama o mali, parang nakakaramdam ako ng desperation na kung ganito na iyong mga tao, parang aayaw na lang ako. Naririnig ko iyon from many friends. Mayroong mga nagsasabing, “magma-migrate na lang ako kasi wala na tayong pag-asa.” Ako, I would have to admit sometimes I say that to my children. Kasi iyong bunso ko nasa US, ‘di ba. Parang sinasabi ko na, “Tara, punta na lang tayo kay Jillian kasi parang wala nang patutunguhan.” Pero iyon iyong parang mas selfish part of me. And I think lahat naman tayo entitled to a certain level of selfishness. Pero kapag inisip mo rin, “kung aayaw ako, papaano na?” ‘Di ba, papaano na iyong mga anak natin? Papaano tayo makakatulong na bigyan iyong mga anak natin ng mundong mas mabuti kaysa sa mundo natin? Iyon naman iyong para sa akin.

     

    Pero iyong reality kasi, iyong change would not happen overnight. Ano ito, eh, parati ko itong sinasabi sa staff namin na power of the long game. Na huwag tayong mafu-frustrate kung hindi—iyong results ng ginagawa natin, hindi immediate. Ang assurance lang, lahat na ginagawa natin nagko-contribute sa whole. So kahit pakiramdam mo na lahat nakasama mo, parang wala na itong pag-asa, gawin mo pa rin. Parang, gawin mo pa rin iyong sa tingin mong tama. Ako, nararamdaman ko iyon. Nararamdaman ko iyon kasi maraming fear. Halimbawa, even among politicians, nandoon iyong fear na kung sasalungat ako, ganito iyong mangyayari sa akin. So sometimes I feel alone also. Parang sometimes, I feel it’s a very lonely fight. Pero again, when I think of my children, parang it is always worth the sacrifice, ‘di ba. I am sure you feel that now that you have two sons. Na parang wala namang pinangarap tayong mga magulang kundi mas mabuting mundo para sa mga anak natin. And kung maggi-give up tayo kasi nahihirapan tayo, eh ‘di baliktad iyong mangyayari for them. So sa akin iyon na lang. Sa akin minsan iniisip ko parang, “ano ba naman iyan, ako na lang iyong—parang ako na lang iyong natitirang publicly nagki-criticize ng mga nangyayari.” Parang—nafi-feel ko iyon. Pero ako, hindi naman ako, alam mo iyon, kapag naman hindi ko ito gawin, sinong gagawa?

     

    So ako, I get strength from people like you na—ako nakikita ko rin iyong mga posts mo, Saab, sometimes. Iyong courage to voice out, you opinions on things that really matter, nakakatulong iyon to give us strength. Na parang sasabihin mo, “hindi naman pala ako nag-iisa.” Parang, mga ano nga ito, people outside of politics pero who also feel the same way that I do. Para sa akin, kahit minority tayo, parang, kahit kaunti lang tayo, basta may lumalaban pa, it will always be worth the fight.

     

    [Commercial break]

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: I agree. Thanks, VP! You must be so proud of your daughters because they—I feel like they are definitely following in your footsteps and your husband’s. We follow them on Twitter and social media and nakikita ko talagang stronger—

     

    VP LENI: Ako, actually, I have friends who tell me, “sawayin mo iyong mga anak mo.”

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Nooo—

     

    VP LENI: [chuckles] May mga nagsasabi. Pero ako, I’m proud of them. Ako, I’m proud of the fact na even if they know na they will be bashed when they speak their minds, ako, we need people like them, eh. We need people like you who are not afraid to fight the establishment. ‘Di ba iyong change nangyayari lang naman if there are courageous people na who are willing to fight the status quo? Ako, I’m very proud of my kids. Never ko silang sinaway. Parati ko lang pinapaalalahanan na no matter how deep their frustrations are, that they should still be respectful. Iyon lang naman iyong sinasabi ko na that they don’t allow their emotions to get the better of them pero they are free to—alam mo iyon, to express their opinions on things that matter.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Great advice!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Actually, VP, iyong sa sinasabi niyo nga, kasi siyempre iyong mga Pinoy, parang we’re very emotional beings. Kaya ang—kapag maririnig mo sa karaoke laging love song, ‘di ba, or hugot, and that’s why ako I completely agree with your sentiment na iyong leadership, hindi lang ng mga Pinoy or kami ni Saab, hindi naman kami parang, “Ay, si VP Leni kaya niya talaga si Bill 23 blah blah… iyong parang ganiyan.” Hindi naman kami ganoon, eh. It’s who can inspire and who has the charisma and who do we think can create more decision makers, who do we think can, kumbaga, inspire more leaders that can make change for the country. So iyon, I just want to say that na siyempre, especially for the social media generation na ito, that’s what we really look for, eh. Honestly, like now, ganito ha, from our perspective—“oh my god, there’s a virus destroying the world.” And then, all we needed was to hear what you said na, “guys, magtulungan tayo.” Parang, “may mga problema…” ‘di ba? Parang… and I think that’s why ako, I completely agree with your sentiment na there is hope because the information—the amount of information and education that we can attain with our technology now is so, it’s actually very beneficial for us. Iyon lang, huwag lang fake news. Pero anyway—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Speaking of fake news, what’s the dumbest thing or silliest thing that’s being thrown at you? [chuckles]

     

    VP LENI: Hay, marami. Napakarami, Saab. Iyong number one, that I cheated in the elections.

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Oh, yes! [laughs]

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: That one is the dumbest!

     

    VP LENI: Number two, mayroon daw akong boyfriend. May inuuwian akong ibang bahay. [laughter] Alam mo iyon, para sa akin, ako—parang I think kasi, Saab and Jim, we also committed a mistake. I was too naive during the first few years of my being VP. Ang asta ko noon, I will not dignify kasi alam mo iyon, parang, kasinungalingan, wala namang katotohanan, bakit papatulan? Pero apparently, it was the wrong reaction, na dapat sana iyong ginawa namin from Day One, nagbigay kami ng—parang, binigay namin iyong truth so that people would have the, ‘di ba, the opportunity to look at things, parang many sides of an issue pero we never offered that. Kasi pinabayaan namin thinking na dahil hindi naman totoo, mawawala din iyan.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: It will just go away…

     

    VP LENI: Pero we forgot that theirs is a well-oiled infrastructure. Lies repeated again and again become the truth. And ganoon iyong nangyari. Until now, kahit nanalo na kami sa Supreme Court, marami pa rin iyong naniniwala na nandaya ako. Halimbawa, iyong paulit-ulit na sinasabing may boyfriend ako, ibang bahay inuuwian ko, dahil paulit-ulit, marami iyong naniniwala. So mali rin kami. Ako—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: But don’t you think that’s also very like, if you had a boyfriend, it’s so sexist talaga kasi parang—

     

    JIM BACARRO: Who cares?

     

    VP LENI: Pero ang ano nga, Saab, the reality is that iyong society natin, double standard pa rin talaga iyong pagtingin. Halimbawa, ang pinaka-example ko diyan when I talk to ordinary, parang rural women, halimbawa, sa very ordinary setting, nag-oopisina 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m. kapag lumabas sa opisina, iyong maraming lalaki tatambay, lalabas kasama iyong mga kainuman, okay lang iyon. Pero kapag ginawa iyon noong babae na after office tumambay sa labas, nakipag-inuman sa barkada, bad wife and mother siya, ‘di ba, kasi hindi siya umuwi, hindi niya tinutor iyong mga anak niya. Pero ganoon pa rin iyong standard natin, eh. Parang we’ve achieved a lot of great strides already as far as women empowerment is concerned but we have to keep our eyes open on the fact na iba pa rin talaga ang pagtingin.

     

    So for women politicians, very vulnerable kami. Very vulnerable kami in the sense na, halimbawa ako wala naman na akong asawa, pero kapag napabalita ako na may boyfriend masamang babae ako. Pero iyong point niya, hindi totoo, eh. Iyong point hindi totoo pero iyong tao, naniniwala kasi iyon iyong naririnig nilang paulit-ulit. Halimbawa iyong cheating in the elections, ganoon din. Halimbawa, maraming nagsasabi na bobo ako. Paulit-ulit. Parang ako, natatawa ako. Parang para sa akin, very demeaning na mag-e-exert pa ako ng effort to defend myself na, “hey, hindi ako bobo.” O “hey, wala akong boyfriend.” O “hey, hindi ako nandaya sa eleksyon.” Para sa akin, hindi ko naman kailangan depensahan iyong sarili ko kasi in the first place, hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi niyo. Pero in the larger scheme of things, naniniwala kasi. Na iyong problema rin—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Grabe, ang dami niyo ngang napanalunan na recount, ha, and congratulations! FYI: you really are the winner! [laughter] Jim and I voted for you and we’re very proud of that.

     

    VP LENI: Thank you, thank you.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Congratulations for the nth time!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Well, sakto pa kasi it’s International Women’s Month, ano, and so ikaw, VP, like ako, ito iyong masasabi ko before we end with some lightning questions lang. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the Batman movie.

     

    VP LENI: Yes.

     

    JIM BACARRO: And we view you kasi talaga as the White Knight. You are Harvey Dent prior to becoming Two Face.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Are you familiar with this, VP?

     

    VP LENI: Familiar ako sa The Dark Knight pero hindi ko alam iyong buong kuwento pero my daughter—my eldest daughter—is a big, big fan.

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Okay. [chuckles]

     

    VP LENI: So whatever I know about it, I heard from her.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Okay. I’ll do it quickly. Gotham is like Metro Manila so the city is filled with corruption and anyway, Harvey Dent is a—the first politician who is voicing against oppression, corruption, so basically everyone is—and then, so he’s the White Knight nga in this whole scenario. Anyway, and everyone is trying to pull him down because ang point nila is if you pull down The White Knight, it therefore shows na parang there is no good in this world. Ganoon iyon, eh. Kung iyong beacon of hope nababa, wala na talagang pag-asa. So anyway, the reason why i brought that up is I just wanted to ask you, like, you know, your career path kasi was from the ground up, ‘di ba, like all your initiatives in Naga, Congress, now VP. My question is like, at what point—why do you think… Sometimes kasi, I’m driving around the city naiisip ko when corrupt officials see a homeless person, do they become—parang at what point do they become numb and forget the service part and the politics took over? Kanina nga you mention you faced realities, you learned new things about getting into politics, and that’s the harsh reality, ano. That’s really much I want to ask: like, when does it turn or why do you think it happens?

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: And how do you stop it from happening?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, sa akin, Jim and Saab, marami na akong nakita na who joined politics with only the best of intentions. Parang nag-umpisa, gusto talagang manilbihan. Pero ano kasi, it’s very tricky when you’re inside already. Kasi halimbawa noong nasa Congress ako, naramdaman ko iyon, eh. Parang all of a sudden you enjoy privileges, you are offered. You are offered privileges. All of a sudden, parang—human nature naman, ‘di ba. Human nature na when people admire you, you make things happen. Parang ano iyon, eh, parang you derive satisfaction from it. Pero iyong sa akin kasi I was very fortunate I had a husband who had the practice of—kasi he entered politics when he was 29 [years old]. Bagong kasal kami noon. Wala pang anak. So siya, mayroon siyang practice everyday na tinatanong niya iyong sarili niya, parang mayroong self-assessment everyday, “nasa tama pa 8ba akong landas? Ano ba iyong mga ginawa ko ngayon? Mayroon ba akong ginawa na pinagsisihan ko?” Every day iyan. Every day. And kami, it was a conversation between the two of us. So parang ako, na-practice ako noon. Tapos ako, ako din iyong… ako din iyong parang naging inspirational guide niya na iyong parang to shun… to shun privileges. Halimbawa, when I became VP already, parang I was entitled to—mayroon akong convoy. Hindi iyon mawawala kasi mayroon kang security. Naiintindihan ko iyon. Pero halimbawa, may inassign sa akin na hagad. Alam niyo iyon? Iyong motorsiklo na nagpe-pave ng traffic? Iyon talaga inayawan ko. And marami kaming debate ng security team about it. Parang sinasabi nila na importante ang hagad kasi para sa traffic, etc. etc. So ang parati kong tanong, “bakit tayo makikipag-unahan sa traffic? Mas importante ba tayo kaysa sa iba? Ang mensahe ba noon mas importante iyong lakad natin kaysa sa lakad nila?” Ako, kaya ko iyon tinatanong kasi iyon iyong exercise naming mag-asawa from before. And ako iyong nag-i-instigate ng mga ganoon na discussions kasi tingin ko, mahalaga na nireremind mo iyong sarili mo na sino ka. Kasi kapag walang nagreremind na ganoon, you—parang you get lost—you get lost in another world where things are easier.

     

    Halimbawa noong nasa Congress ako, sinasabihan ako na kung pupunta ka sa airport, mayroong parang—nakalimutan ko iyong term eh pero mayroong protocol. Parang mayroong protocol officer who will arrange everything for you. You don’t have to get in line. Iyong mga ganoon. Iyong para sa akin, parang you remind yourself. Kasi ako nai-imagine ko, kapag in-enjoy ko iyon, sobrang hirap na for me na umalis. So tingin ko, iyon iyong naggi-give way sa political dynasties. Iyon iyong, alam mo iyon, parang because you enjoy the privileges already, parang ayaw mo nang maalis sa family. Ayaw mo nang maalis sa family na kapag tapos ka na… Parang there’s a very thin line between iyon at saka iyon naman talagang, parang desire to really serve. Parang masyado nang gray iyong area na hindi mo narerealize na mali na pala. Kasi hindi siya sudden, eh, ‘di ba. Parang, puumasok ka na ano naman talaga, sobrang okay iyong intentions mo pero dahil hindi mo nahiwalay na mayroon ka palang private life, ano eh, parang nawawala na iyon and suddenly, your private life—your public life already becomes your private life.

     

    Halimbawa kami, Jim and Saab, mayor iyong asawa ko, eh. Nakatira lang kami sa isang apartment and I think it helped. It helped na nakatira kami sa maliit na apartment na wala naman kaming space to receive guests. So we never entertained at home. And we were different from many other mayors of small cities ng mga probinsya kasi iyong kalakaran, kapag mayor ka, parang hindi ka nauubusan ng bisita sa bahay. Hindi ka na nakakapunta sa opisina ng maaga kasi nag-e-entertain ka ng bisita tapos mayroon ka nang permanent na cooking team na all day all night nagluluto lang kasi parati kang—alam mo iyon. Parang iyong asawa ko when he was mayor of Naga ang policy niya hindi siya dudukot sa sarili niyang bulsa to spend his own money para ipambigay sa tao. Kasi iyong fear niya kapag ginawa niya iyon, matetempt na siyang kumuha. Matetempt na siya sa mga ino-offer na Jueteng money, SOP sa mga public works project. Walang pressure para sa kaniyang kumuha kasi napapagkasya naman niya iyong suweldo niya para sa pamilya niya. But if he starts spending his own money for patay, binyag, kasal, mahirap na iyon kasi nangangailangan na, eh. Kaya iyong asawa ko kapag kinukuha nang ninong sa kasal, alam na ng tao na wala siyang regalo. Alam mo iyon, dapat conscious iyong effort. Dapat conscious iyong effort na pinapangalagaan mo iyong integrity mo kasi mahirap kapag hindi conscious iyong effort kasi nawawala ka, eh. Parang nawawala ka kasi jina-justify mo na na “kumukuha ako hindi naman para sa sarili ko pero para rin sa tao.” Alam mo iyon, parang very thin line na. And paminsan, hindi mo narerealize na nag-a-accumulate ka na.

     

    JIM BACARRO: And I think ano rin, ano, based on everything you said, VP, parang moral compass kasi ‘di ba. And siyempre when you get into politics, you get into the machinery, mag-iiba iyong compass mo. I think the biggest difference in what you’ve shared talaga is the importance of, education mo, education of your husband, your surroundings, you environment and the values that will keep your compass intact, ano.

     

    VP LENI: At saka ano rin siguro, Jim, mas mapalad din kami. We were lucky—both my husband and myself—that we were raised in a family that put a lot of premium on character. Iyong father-in-law ko, blind siya. Blind siya since my husband was five years old. Silang magkakapatid, iyong family ng asawa ko, every other child in the family is blind so there’s a disability in the family. Pero iyong value of hardwork, iyong parang kahit may kapansanan, hindi siya naging hadlang. Hindi siya naging hadlang para magtrabaho o magcontribute sa society. So I think it helped a lot. I think it helped a lot in the sense na iyong concept of right and wrong was really strong. Kasi I remember we lived with my in-laws for eight years. The first eight years of our married life, we were with my in-laws. Ang nasa household na iyon iyong father-in-law ko na blind, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law who was also blind. And my father-in-law would knock on our door every six o’clock in the morning, ginigising iyong asawa ko. Tapos halimbawa, sometimes I would tell my father-in-law, “Pa, hindi ko pa ginigising si Jess kasi nagabihan siya kagabi. Mayroong sayawan sa isang barangay.” Sasabihin ko iyon, sasabihin ng father-in-law ko, “Hindi iyan excuse. Dapat siya iyong pinaka-unang darating sa opisina kasi kailangan siya iyong maging example.” So, kami, fortunate kami. Fortunate kami na we had people we look up to na ganoon din iyon, alam mo iyon, na ganoon din iyong sense of right and wrong. Kasi parang mahirap din—hindi mo rin masabi, “ako innately mabuti ako.” Hindi mo masasabi. Parang it’s a constant. Iyong constant exposure to people and circumstances na nakakatulong sa atin.

     

    So I think, even when we raised kids, ako kasi malaki na iyong mga anak ko. My eldest is 33. Never akong nagkaproblema sa kanila. Alam mo iyon, parang ako, minsan ‘di ba mayroong horror stories. Pero kasi I think I’m the kind of mom—hindi ko alam sa iyo, Saab—pero ako I’m the kind of mom na hindi ako mangaral. Parang I don’t preach. Pero my kids are okay. Never akong nagpalo ng anak. Pero they’re okay. Pero ako kasi, tingin ko iyong bata mas naaabsorb niya iyong nakikita rather than naririnig. So sa amin, hindi naman ako—I was a mother at 23 [years old]. Wala pa akong kaalam-alam sa mundo. Pero okay naman iyong mga anak ko. So tingin ko, ano naman iyon, parang for parents, ‘di ba, if we raise good kids, that’s enough contribution to the world.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: I agree, oo.

     

    VP LENI: So sa akin, sa akin, ano, tuwang tuwa nga ako kay Vito kasi rocker na rocker, ‘di ba. Iyong videos niyo. So ganiyan siya kasi nakikita sa inyo perhaps. At iyong bata talaga para iyang sponge, eh. Iyong bata para siyang sponge na hindi natin alam na iyong, iyong parang ina-absorb niya lahat. Ina-absorb niya lahat na nakikita, ina-absorb niya lahat na nararamdaman. And iyon talaga iyong bumubuo ng character. Kami ng asawa ko, we were fortunate. We were fortunate that we were surrounded with people who, iyon nga, put a lot of premium on values, on integrity, on character.

     

    JIM BACARRO: VP, since we’re talking about sponges, ano, iyong podkids namin, I think what we’re really pushing for is voter registration. What can you say—or how will you argue since you are an attorney—to someone who says, “bakit pa ako magre-register eh ano naman, sure na wala namang chance, eh, o minority vote na ako, eh.” What will you say?

     

    VP LENI: Siguro ang pinakamagandang example diyan iyong nangyari sa US. Iyong nangyari sa US, noong election nila in 2016 between Trump and Hilary, iyon ano, all the surveys, si Hilary was leading. Pero during the elections, natalo siya. Natalo siya sa electoral college. And when the votes were already being analyzed, iyong mga kabataan, hindi nagboto. Hindi bumoto. Iyong mga minority hindi bumoto. So they Trump for four years. And because they knew that that was one of the reasons why Trump became president, they really exerted a lot of effort on encouraging people to register and to vote, especially the young people and the minoritie—and Biden happened. Parang before the 2020 elections, ang popularity ni Trump was soaring, ‘di ba. Ang popularity niya was really high. There was a lot of fear that he will be given another four years but then, iyong efforts ng lahat concerted. Kahit sa opposition, grabe iyong away during the primaries. Halimbawa si Sanders, opposed iyong maraming paniniwala ni Biden sa kaniya, ni Sanders. Si Kamala ganoon din, si Elizabeth Warren. Pero because they made an agreement na “ang pinakakalaban natin dito iyong Trump at saka iyong ultra-conservative na team behind him, we will set side our—parang our individual political ambitions para magkasama tayo lahat.” And iyong mga voters, nagparticipate, ‘di ba. Iyong mail-in votes ang dami, iyong registration ang dami. Nangyari din iyan sa atin. Nangyari din iyan sa atin 2019. In 2019, ito iyong Otso Diretso. Lahat na surveys sa mga schools panalong-panalo iyong Otso Diretso, as in most schools overwhelming. Pero pagdating ng botohan, walang nakapasok sa Top 12. Walang nakapasok sa Top 12 kasi bumoto lang sila sa surveys sa schools. Pero hindi sila bumoto sa tunay na eleksyon. And ang resulta noon, the kind of public servants that we elected to office.

     

    So dapat sana naiintindihan ng lahat na we all have a responsiblity na hindi tayo one vote lang. Kasi kung one vote lang tayo, kung lahat ganoon ang mindset, talagang binibigyan natin ng daan iyong hindi naman—hindi deserving of our trust. Kaya ngayon, sana ma-recognize natin na kailangan nating pagkaisahan, na whatever it takes, kailangan tayong magkaisa tayo. Kasi kung hindi tayo magkakaisa, it will be another six years na ganito iyong values na pinapasunod.

     

    So siguro iyong question: is this who we are as Filipinos? Kasi ‘di ba, it’s the soul of the nation that’s at stake. So para sa akin, puwedeng hindi ideal. Pero basta pinagkaisahan natin, kasi iyong fight naman na ito intergenerational ito, eh. The fight doesn’t end in 2022. So iyong tanong, willing ba tayo na magkaisa tayo para mag-one step ahead? Ako, I am sure the answer is yes. So dapat iyong mga kabataan, all revolutions started by the young people—we are not just talking about armed revolution but we’re talking about revolutions that bring about societal change—na talagang iyong mga kabataan. Kasi iyong mga kabataan ano pa, eh, wala pang masyadong—parang, open pa. Wala pang masyadong… ano ito, wala pang masyadong mga kahon na napapaloob sa kanila. And ako, Jim and Saab, I work with very young people in the office. Tingin ko ako lang iyong matanda dito sa amin and I benefit a lot—I benefit a lot from their idealism, I benefit a lot from their creativity, iyong innovativeness and I think that’s what we need now. Kasi paminsan iyong mga edad namin, parang masyado na kaming, alam mo iyon, parang masyado nang nakatingin sa napakamakalumang paraan. And the world is changing at a very fast pace na kailangan tayong sumabay. Kapag hindi tayo sumabay, maiiwan tayo, but with our values intact.

     

    JIM BACARRO: And actually, your victory is an example of the importance of voter registration and the kids—

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Thank you, Lord!

     

    JIM BACARRO: And ito, VP, sorry ha, last na, so while we’re gathering—kami, we’re really going to push na, “come on, guys. Let’s educate ourselves. Let’s vote. Let’s register.” How about you on the politics side? Kasi you mentioned na, okay, what if magkaisa nga? Let’s say the kids will say, “Let’s vote for the soul of the nation.” My question is, hindi ba the problem is the opposition, hindi rin siya tahi. So therefore, kami, the voters, mahahati rin kami. I mean, what [are] the plans o update, sorry.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Puwede bang i-ano iyon, i-reveal iyan? Ano ba, mayroon ba kayong… [chuckles]

     

    VP LENI: Siguro ano, very general, para sa akin, halimbawa only with my supporters, marami iyong nagsasabi na, “gusto namin ikaw iyong mag-presidente.” Pero if you will ask me, okay naman iyan na gusto nating ganiyan. Siguro for some, iyon iyong ideal. Pero kailangan kasi pakinggan natin iyong boses ng iba. Kasi kung ipipilit natin iyong pinaniniwalaan natin, baka magkahati-hati tayo. Iyong para sa akin, we should be willing to, parang to listen to the voices of other people. Kasi kung hindi natin iyon gagawin, sasabihin natin, “lahat sila hindi kami bukas. Sa iyo lang kami bukas.” Baka talo na talaga tayo. Iyon naman sa akin. Tapos kami naman, kami naman na tinitingnan na possible, dapat willing kami to set aside our, ‘di ba, our—to set aside our political ambitions for the good of the country. Kasi sa akin halimbawa, sabihin natin na gusto kong mag-presidente. Gusto kong mag-presidente—ano lang ito, hypothetical—tingin ko ako iyong magsasalba sa bansa. Tingin ko ako iyong pinakamahusay sa lahat. Kapag ganoon iyong mindset, walang mangyayari, eh, ‘di ba. Dapat pakinggan natin sila. Dapat tingnan natin who can unite us. Ako ba iyon? Kasi kung hindi ako iyon, hanapin natin sino ba among us can unite? Kapag sinabi kasi nating can unite, hindi naman natin ine-expect na pare-pareho iyong pagtingin about certain things. Pero with the very important things, para sa akin iyon iyong non-negotiables. Kailangan willing tayo na, parang mag-give in ng part ng arm natin. Ganoon iyong nangyari sa US. Ganoon iyong nangyari kay Biden. Na hindi naman siya tinitingnan na he was the best candidate, pero siya iyong pinagkaisahan, eh. Siya iyong pinagkaisahan and for some, halimbawa iyong mas left-leaning among them, iyong mga supporters ni Sanders, marahil iniisip nila “ayaw namin diyan kasi masyado iyang centrist,” pero ginawa nila, eh. Ginawa nila because they recognized that it was Trump. Because Trump was causing, parang the nation to suffer. So nagkaisa sila.

     

    And I’m hoping na iyon iyong mangyayari sa atin. I’m hoping na iyong lahat na players willing. Pero again, having said that, mayroong mga non-negotiables. Siyempre, halimbawa if we will be open to alliances, kailangan klaro ano ba iyong stand niyan sa extrajudicial killings? Ano ba iyong stand niyan sa state-sponsored harassment? ‘Di ba, iyong mga bagay na ganoon. Kasi for the sake din lang na magkaisa, wala namang prinsipyo, mahirap din naman iyon. So iyong mga non-negotiables dapat nag-a-agree pero dapat iyong tao, hindi iyong, “kung hindi ikaw huwag na lang.” Kasi sabi ko nga, hindi naman natin ito mareresolve sa 2022, eh. Iyong sa akin, marami masyado tayong problema na kailangan nating i-resolve na magkaisa tayo para harapin natin iyon. So para sa akin, I’m open to all possibilities kasi ang pinakamahalaga rito iyong bansa natin, eh, hindi naman ako, alam mo iyon… Paminsan, paminsan mahirap—if you—I’m sure naramdaman niyo na ito—if you feel so strongly about something, whether election related siya or not, parang handa kang makipag-debate o makipag-argue para ipaglaban iyong paniniwala mo. Pero maraming bagay sa buhay na hindi ideal. Pero iyong mahalaga, you are one step closer to your goal. Kasi, iyon naman, eh, parang life is really like that. It’s a series of small steps. You just have to make sure that each step brings you closer to your objective.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yes, a step towards the right direction. I completely agree. Na parang—tama, tama.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Super love.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Super love. Thank you! Thank you so much, VP, grabe.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Before we end, puwede bang mag-request lang ako na magpapicture iyong babies namin.

     

    VP LENI: Of course! Of course, sobrang fan kami ni Pancho at saka ni VIto.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yay!

     

    VP LENI: Saab, nakakatuwa iyong kapag nagiging rocker na si Vito inuulit ulit ko iyong video kasi sobra siyang nakakatuwa kasi even the expression, ‘di ba. Iyong expression niya pang-rocker talaga. [laughs]

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Yes. He doesn’t stop. He does it like the whole day. Talagang feel na feel niya iyong guitar ano niya, eh.

     

    VP LENI: Oo nga, eh.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Well, while waiting for them, baka puwede tayong magsingit ng lightning round questions.

     

    JIM BACARRO: Yeah, mabilis lang.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Comfort food? Favorite comfort food?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, anything with gata ang spicy.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Oh! Ako, I feel that—because Naga!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Actually, VP, first time kong pina-try kay Saab iyong legit na Laing, grabe ano pala siya, parang shrimp pala siya. Hindi siya iyong normal na iyong leaves lang. Parang garnish pala siya, ano.

     

    SAAB MAGALONA-BACARRO: Kakaiba! If we go to Naga, where should we go na hindi tourist spot, na tourist destination?

     

    VP LENI: Ako, iyong Naga kasi walang tourist spot. Iyong Naga walang tourist spot. Pagkain lang talaga. Iyong mga tourist spots sa amin nasa labas ng Naga. So we don’t have beaches, we’re landlocked, pero iyong pinupuntahan talaga sa amin iyong pagkain. But you should go!

     

    JIM AND SAAB: Thank you! Thank you, VP!

     

    VP LENI: Thank you for having me!

     

    JIM BACARRO: Thank you so much. This was awesome.

     

    VP LENI: Salamat!

     

     

     

    - 30 -

     

     

    Posted in Transcripts on Mar 29, 2021