By Juan Escandor Jr.
NAGA CITY --- Vice President Leni G. Robredo is determined to pursue legal action against the people behind an online exposé who cast a shadowy and criminal character of her late husband Jesse M. Robredo, a 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for government service and an icon of good governance practices.
On March 4, a blogspot under the name of an anonymous group called “We Are Collective,” published through social media the so-called #Nagaleaks with allegations against the longest-serving mayor of Naga City that linked him to “jueteng”, illegal drugs and the disappearance of a former city councilor, among others.
“Even though it will be very difficult for us because the people behind the online exposé are hiding behind anonymity, we will pursue legal action. We are studying the case now,” Robredo, speaking in Bikol, told some 2,000 supporters conducting a prayer-rally against cyberbullying at Plaza Rizal here on Thursday night.
The prayer-rally was attended by the group that calls itself Silent Majority, Ateneo de Naga University, University of Nueva Caceres, Universidad de Sta. Isabel, Millennials PH, Daughters of Charity, Bantay Familia, Naga City People’s Council, Senior Citizens Association, Organization of persons with disabilities or PWDs and Urban Poor Association.
It was also attended by the local officials of Naga City and Camarines Sur third district Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.
Vice President Robredo said she ignored the online attack against her that started during the election period last year but it continued even after she had won the polls against Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
She said she cannot anymore ignore the online expose that attacked the name of her husband Jesse who cannot defend himself now since he has been dead for almost five years now.
Robredo said the attack did not only destroy the name of her husband but the name of Naga City as well.
She said it was #LeniLeaks in January but when March came it was already #NagaLeaks which already involved the name of the city itself.
“We know how hard we have built this city to achieve its present status. Nobody has the right to destroy the name of this city,” she added.
Robredo said the people of Naga City had worked hard to build a good reputation for the locality.
She said the problem with the online expose is that it peddles the same lies which had been answered and proven untrue by her husband when he was still alive.
Robredo said she has no problem if the exposé were confined to Naga City because she is confident the people will not believe it.
The crowd gave a negative response when she roused them to ask if her husband had ever been involved in the illegal numbers game jueteng, drugs and murder.
Robredo said that if the cyberbullying could not be stopped it will continuously create division among the people of Naga City who could be pinpointing at each other due to posts in the Internet that have no basis.
She advised the crowd to avoid sharing fake information by blocking these items when they appear in their Facebook timeline.
Trinity Mayor, a leader of the Silent Majority, said they organized the prayer-rally because the online exposé against Jesse Robredo had been rehashed and issues thrown at him which were proven untrue when he was still alive.
“We cannot keep silent now because this cyberbullying is not only destroying the name of the late Jesse Robredo but the people of Naga City who believe in his ideals,” said Mayor.
Paz V. Santos, a retired professor of the De La Salle University, said there is someone or force behind cyberbullying who wish to destroy the name of Jesse Robredo and his wife and will benefit from the slur on their name.
“We, as people of Naga, demand that these trolls, naysayers and twisted evil doers stop and let us go on with creating a society that is right and just,” Santos said.
Christopher Molin, leader of the PWDS, shared his testimony regarding the accessibility and openness of Jesse as a public servant who gave importance to their sector.
“We are witness to the genuine openness and leadership of Jesse Robredo in Naga City. We should not believe whatever stories that taint the name of our former mayor because we know that he was not like that,” Molin said.
He said it is the people of Naga who know the legacy of good governance that Jesse Robredo had left behind.
Naga City Mayor John Bongat was conspicuously absent in the gathering after his wife Farrah complained of cyberbullying from people belonging to the Liberal Party.
In a press conference held early this week, Farrah issued statements saying she was cyberbullied through Facebook posts that she had linked to “high profile and/or staunch supporters/sympathizers and personalities appearing to be associated directly and indirectly with Liberal Party and its officials.”
Farrah, in her Facebook posts before she deactivated it on Tuesday, had shown her support to President Duterte with photos welcoming him at the Naga Airport during his visit last year at the Army camp in Pili town.