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By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento

What’s so unique about being a KakamPINK is that we call upon the better angels of our nature, and rise above the muck and mire of guns, goons and gold. The most radical love is first for one’s self. As RuPaul said: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?” We recognize that we are capable of being and doing better, just like the woman whom we have chosen to lead us. As the iconic Kris Aquino put it: Leni is the woman she aspires to be.

This especially resonates for those of us from so-called exclusive, girls only, schools run by Catholic nuns. The Katipuneras for Leni (Miriam or Maryknoll) who came up with the pink parol, a powerful symbol of Advent’s hope and joy, which also gives jobs to poor communities. Kulasa (St. Scholastica’s) through the ENFIDE-Friedenserde institute held a series of webinars on Philippine politics by pundits like Prof. Bobby Tuazon, anthropologist Michael Tan, and Cong. Carlos Zarate. They even shared the WeTransfer link to the acclaimed documentary about Imelda R. Marcos’ relentless efforts to get the SOD back into Malacañan. Click: The King Maker Documentary Film (Link)

As a Theresian from Kindergarten through high school, I am tickled pink that my alma mater, STC QC, was one of VPL’s two choices for her youngest daughter. Being a science nerd, Jillian went to PISAY (Philippine Science High School) instead. Nonetheless, through the years, the OVP has partnered with STC’s Tere Gives initiatives such as distributing our hygiene kits to calamity-stricken communities. Banca ni Teresa was among its Angat Buhay projects.

Theresians were among the first to issue a Manifesto of Support, vowing “to stand together to support Leni Robredo as she runs for President in 2022.” Thus Theresians With Leni [TWL] was formed, independent of St. Theresa’s College and STC alumnae associations, but imbued with values which STC taught us: Service, Tenacity and Compassion—values which Leni lives large.

TWL’s lead convenor is former DOH Sec. Dr. Chit Reodica. Another Theresian, Kankan Ramos is Team Leni Robredo’s social media maven. The TWL Manifesto points out that for Theresians who have a strong sense of social responsibility and an even stronger stand on social justice,

Leni Robredo as president means having a leader:

With the purest moral compass who will steer us back to being a humane and God-fearing country;

Who will put us, the people, first in her agenda and not degrade us, or make us just an afterthought;

grounded in the most pressing national issues, and will offer well-considered, practical, solutions, not false promises;

practicing good governance as befits a civil servant with proven integrity;

Who dares to espouse an inclusive and radical love which is healing and all-embracing.

TWL sees Leni as the bridging leader, the true servant leader. The quiet faith, and inner strength with which she has met challenges in her own personal life—from the loss of her husband Jesse, her soldiering on to continue his legacy, and her brave diligence and dignity while enduring the rude gauntlet which this Administration has put her through, she has embodied our patron saint Teresa de Avila’s prayer for us all: “To have courage for whatever comes in life, everything lies in that.”


Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.

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