Vice President Leni Robredo in a selfie with “On My Watch” author Manuel Caballero.

“Filipinos in America are known for their generosity to our kababayans, especially in times of calamity. We hope they will continue to share their blessings with those who are in need in our country. May God bless and protect them at all times.”

Those were the words of Vice President Leni Robredo last Saturday (May 19) to Filipinos in America during my interview with her.

She attended the fundraising event of ANCOP USA Northeast Region held in a restaurant in West Orange, N.J.

The funds raised are intended for Calabanga, Camarines Sur municipal health center, as well as poor victims of the recent Mayon Volcano eruptions.

VP Leni deserves praise for being so accommodating and attentive during the entire interview.

I avoided asking political questions because I know she is avoiding it, too, so as not to stir some suspicious minds in Manila.

It may be recalled that on two occasions in the past, she was falsely and erroneously accused by President Duterte of destabilizing his administration together with New York’s Loida Nicolas Lewis.

It turned out as false in both.


The audience posed for a group selfie and remained standing until after the guest speaker had returned to her seat.

The President apologized to the Vice President. I don’t think he apologized to Loida Lewis.

The Vice President was fully aware that according to the Philippine Constitution (she is a lawyer) she is just “one breath” away from the presidency.

I brought up the topic because of the “crises of trust, confidence and truth” that are reportedly plaguing the leadership of the Philippines.

She told me she had no choice but to abide by the provision of the Constitution.

In short, she is ready to lead her case.

She has no choice.

I raised the subject because of a newspaper report last year which mentioned she was not interested to pursue politics beyond her term.

I mentioned to her the classic classroom joke on the subject of vice president.

That one of the duties of a vice president is to pray hard.

It seemed she did not like that joke.

I’m sure she had heard it, too.

Having opened that topic, she started to share her Angat-Buhay project for the poor, which, she detailed in her speech.

She said she thought of Angat-Buhay so that the Office of the Vice President (OVP) will have something to contribute to poor Filipinos.

(Please read the FR story about last Saturday’s event for more details on Angat-Buhay at

At that point, luncheon was served, so, I had to end the interview with a request for selfie.

I wish to thank VP Leni for being cooperative and attentive during the entire time.


Manuel Caballero shares a light moment with the Vice President.


Vice President Robredo flew to the U.S. in order to attend the graduation of one of her daughters from Harvard University who finished a master’s degree on a scholarship.

By the time you read this, she must already be back in Manila.

In her speech, she mentioned the possibility of starting Angat-Buhay Teams in North America so that her offices will be able to help more Filipinos.

We are happy for the chance we had to be with a simple and pleasant public servant.

VP Leni sat down and chatted with the guests during picture-taking with each of the groups and associations represented in the event while smiling without complaining.

Among the groups in addition to Couples for Christ ANCOP USA Northeast Region which attended were: Philippine Nurses Association-Middlesex County, NJ Chapter; Bukas Loob Sa Diyos; Tropical Hut; Bicol Association of New York; Mountainview Entertainment; Filipino Apostolate of Union, NJ; Friends of Alloute Foundation, Inc.

An esteemed lawyer and leader in the Filipino-American community in New Jersey who apparently saw the pictures of VP Leni that we posted in Facebook and my comment that she was most accommodating and attentive interviewee sent me the following comments:

Monsieur Manny,

Peut-etre parce-que elle est une femme fatale?

Riez-vous s’il vous plait!

(Translation) Sir Manny,

Maybe because she’s a fatal woman?

Laugh, please!

Manuel Caballero I read the translation po.

Please define your term “fatal.”


Atty.: In my book, a lady gifted with all the bewitching charm that would render a Knight helpless, defenseless and powerless while under such spell, is called a “Femme fatale.”

Voila Monsieur.

I can’t blame the Filipino lawyer.


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