The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is not asking any department to investigate Vice President Leni Robredo for supposedly competing with the national government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
“(The) PACC is not asking anyone to investigate VP Leni Robredo,” its Commissioner Greco Belgica said in a statement on Thursday.
Belgica made the comment after PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate Robredo for alleged “illegal solicitations” and other actions that undermine government efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“It was a personal opinion and request made by one of the commissioners of PACC that does not reflect the sentiments of the Commission,” he said.
Belgica noted that the PACC’s concern now is how to help address the needs of Filipinos affected by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
“Our main concern is to make sure all the needy Filipinos get all the help they need the President promised. Our concern is to end this Covid-19,” he said. “Our concern is to save lives and rebuild our country and the lives of our people after all this ends.”
In an interview with radio dzBB, PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez apologized for Luna’s “irresponsible statement” against Robredo’s relief drive.
“Ako’y talagang humihingi ng pasensiya dahil sa nangyaring ganito. Walang katotohanan ‘yan na nagre-request sa NBI na imbestigahin ang Office of the Vice President (I really apologize because of what happened. It’s not true that the PACC requested the NBI to investigate the Office of the Vice President),” Jimenez said.
He lauded Robredo’s relief drive amid the government’s actions to address the Covid-19 crisis under the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act (Republic Act 11469) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 24.
“Welcome dapat lahat ng tumutulong (Everyone who wants to help is welcome) under this health emergency, under the Bayanihan Act, we act as one,” Jimenez said.
He said he has already spoken to Luna and has asked him to stop issuing statements as spokesman of the PACC.
“I have to accept the responsibility that this news become viral. That’s my call. Whatever decision the President will make, yan po ay aming tatanggapin na maluwag sa aming puso (we will accept it with all our heart),” Jimenez said.
Belgica also thanked all government agencies, offices, including the Vice President’s office, for assisting the national government’s Covid-19 response.
“We are thankful to everyone who (is) helping the front-liners and the needy including the VP,” he said.
Robredo’s spokesperson Barry Guitierrez described Luna’s statement as “ridiculous, so inappropriate, so out of touch.”
Gutierrez said Robredo has provided assistance without requesting additional public funds or seeking expanded powers.
“She did this because she saw a need, and she took action to meet it. She did this because it was the right and responsible thing to do,” he said. (PNA)