IN SPITE of a flawed election system, when a candidate wins he or she is said to get the people’s mandate. Thus, when Leni Robredo got elected Vice President, her sacred (because the vote is) mandate was to function as Vice President.

That somebody other than her running mate won the Presidency only made the mandate difficult to fulfill. It did not give her the right to renounce it and function as any other, least of all as spokesman and leader of the opposition.

She was doing well at the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. As Cabinet secretary she could have done a lot of good for the homeless. But she resigned, apparently hurt that she was not invited to Cabinet meetings and showed she was not willing to sacrifice a personal hurt for the sake of the people.

After that, all she ended up doing was lead the Liberal Party’s indiscriminate assault on the administration’s programs? Thus, when she told the UN, the world in effect, about extrajudicial killings she was doing it as spokesman and head of the opposition, not as Vice President. A Vice President would not have shamed the country with the bloated and unconfirmed figures of the opposition.

When the President, presumably sick and tired of her endless rants, challenged her to co-head the anti-illegal drugs body (Icad), one would think, after all her criticisms, that she would hit the ground running with her alternative program. Besides, as Vice President she was expected to be ready to take over all programs because the President is old and sickly and she could become President anytime.

It soon became obvious, however, that she was not ready with anything and was winging it. But it’s really not surprising because from the very start she has always been shooting blanks with her mouth.

In this country there is no such thing as constructive criticism or bi-partisan cooperation from the opposition. Political parties are formed not to promote the people’s good but to win an office and get rich in the process. Thus, any opposition’s mantra of search and destroy administration programs that could endear the latter to the people.

I voted for Leni. When she won, I had hoped she would have the political depth to start an era of bi-partisan cooperation. It was disappointing that she instead persisted in leading her party’s assault on the administration even after voters comprehensively rejected her party at the mid-term elections. She not only had no depth of perception, she also could not see what was before her eyes.

The lawyer in her could have navigated Duterte’s tortuous administrative maze. She copped out and instead rammed it from the outside. But a mandate is a mandate which she has to fulfill, problems and all.