File photo shows PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
PACC not investigating Robredo after all as commissioner rejects earlier statement
( - April 2, 2020 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is not asking the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate Vice President Leni Robredo after all. 

This was the pronouncement of PACC Commissioner Greco Belgica in a statement sent to reporters Thursday afternoon.

Earlier that day, fellow PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna told reporters that the commission was asking the NBI to probe Robredo for actions that they said "compete with" or are "calculated to undermine" the national government's efforts amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) scare.

"PACC is not asking anyone to investigate VP Leni Robredo. On the other hand, we are thankful to everyone who are helping the front liners and the needy including the VP," Belgica said in his statement. 

"It was a personal opinion and request made by one of the Commissioners of PACC that does not reflect the sentiments of the Commission."

According to Luna, a number of the Office of the Vice President’s initiatives including its free shuttle service, its dorm for health workers and its donations of personal protective equipment for health workers on the frontlines "compete" with the Departments of Health (DOH) and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), along with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. 

Lawyer Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesperson, slammed the statement as “ridiculous, so inappropriate, [and] so out of touch.”

"This is not the time for politicking. We are not concerned with any personality. Our main concern is to make sure all the needy Filipinos get all the help they need the President promised," Belgica added. 

"Our concern is to end this COVID19 virus."

As of this writing, the health department has recorded 2,311 confirmed COVID-19 patients in the country as the death toll rose to 96. Hundreds of new cases have been detected daily since last week, owing to enhanced testing capabilities, the department said. — Franco Luna

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: April 30, 2020 - 11:43am

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the bill that grants him special powers to address the novel coronavirus outbreak in the Philippines. Bookmark this page for updates. 

April 30, 2020 - 11:43am

The Government Service Insurance System is set to release P12.9 million in life insurance benefits to the families or beneficiaries of the eight government health workers who succumbed to COVID-19. This was announced today by Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, President and General Manager of the state pension fund.

“Our insurance officers are already coordinating with the bereaved families. Once the papers are duly processed, we will release the amounts without delay,” says Rolando Ledesma Macasaet, GSIS president and general manager.  

“And as promised, we will be granting an additional P500,000 under our Bayanihan Fund for Frontliners (BFF) on top of their regular insurance benefits in recognition of their heroism and selfless dedication to public service,” he adds.

April 29, 2020 - 12:45pm

The Department of Social Welfare and Development should include senior citizens in its social amelioration program, even those already receiving pensions, Sen. Risa Hontiveros says.

She has filed a resolution that, if adopted, will be the opinion of the Senate.

"An overwhelming majority of our senior citizens are poor. The quarantine exposes and magnifies their physical and financial vulnerabilities," Hontiveros says as she filed the resolution, which urges expansion of subsidies to senior citizens "who live with their spouses, the unaccompanied, and the homeless."

She notes that 68% of COVID-19 fatalities are elderly.

"A massive number of senior citizens who were left out of the initial DSWD memorandum only receives P5,000 or less a month under SSS and GSIS pension programs and only as mere supplement to their informal income," she also says.

She says that "the exclusion of pensioned senior citizens ignores the fact that many of them who still work in the informal economy face even graver difficulties because they are deprived of livelihood amid this crisis."

April 27, 2020 - 10:06am

Acknowledging the need for an extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in areas with high cases of COVID-19, Vice President Leni Robredo says the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to do so was a "tough balancing act."

"Mahirap, pero kailangan. Mabuti the president made the difficult decision," Robredo says in an interview with CNN Philippines' "The Source" Monday morning.

The vice president, however, points out that the ECQ is not a cure to the deadly virus but gives the country time to prepare.

April 26, 2020 - 6:55pm

Sen. Nancy Binay cautions the labor department over its move to have an OFW in Taiwan deported over social media posts critical of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"Paalala lang po sa mga labor attaches na kayo ang kanlungan at sandigan ng ating mga OFW," she says on her Twitter account.

(Just a reminder to our labor attaches that you are the shelter and support of our OFWs)

 She adds: "Wag maging Bagong Makapili sa harap ng mga bagong bayani."

(Don't be collaborators against our 'modern heroes')

RELATED: DOLE hit for policing Taiwan OFW's Facebook posts

April 24, 2020 - 8:46am
The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases recommended that some areas in medium risk be under a general community quarantine subject to further review.

These are:

  • Abra
  • Ilocos Norte
  • La Union
  • Cagayan
  • Isabela
  • Nueva Vizcaya
  • Marinduque
  • Camarines Sur
  • Aklan
  • Capiz
  • Samar
  • Western Samar
  • Zamboanga Del Sur
  • Lanao Del Norte
  • Misamis Occidental
  • Misamis Oriental
  • North Cotabato
  • South Cotabato
  • Maguindanao

A general community quarantine is a less stringent form of the lockdown currently imposed on Metro Manila. Details are available in our live blog.

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