“The PACC is not asking anyone to investigate VP Leni Robredo. On the other hand, we are thankful to everyone who are helping the frontliners and the needy, including the VP,” the statement also read.
STAR/Michael Varcas/File
PACC exec: Robredo undermining anti-COVID efforts of government
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - April 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) must also investigate Vice President Leni Robredo for supposedly competing with or undermining the national government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The (NBI) should investigate (the) Vice President for illegal solicitations, actions that compete with or calculated to undermine national government efforts in this time of public health emergency or national calamity,” PACC commissioner Manuelito Luna said in text message sent to reporters.

Fellow PACC Commissioner Greco Belgic, however, released a statement yesterday afternoon saying that was Luna’s own opinion and not the stand of the commission.

“The PACC is not asking anyone to investigate VP Leni Robredo. On the other hand, we are thankful to everyone who are helping the frontliners and the needy, including the VP,” the statement also read.

Also yesterday, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he does not see any violation of the Bayanihan Act committed by the Vice President. He said “anybody can provide assistance as long as you coordinate with a government agency.”

Sen. Christopher Go also said any assistance in the anti-COVID effort is welcome, saying officials who can't help should "quarantine (their) mouth" or leave.

Among those Luna said should be looked into are the provision of free shuttle service and dormitories for health workers as well as the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) as these may have violated Republic Act 10121, also known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Luna said the actions of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) may have also violated Presidential Decree 1564, otherwise known as the Solicitation Permit Law and other related issuances as well as the measures and protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) in connection with the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19.

He argued that since Robredo is a part of the national government, she is barred from competing with or undermining the efforts of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of Civil Defense/National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.


 The OVP described the call as ridiculous, inappropriate and out of touch, with Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez saying that anyone who insists that bringing assistance to hospitals and health workers is competition “has absolutely no understanding of the gravity of the crisis we are all facing.”

He said the Vice President was able to mobilize private citizens to procure the PPEs for medical workers and brought extraction kits to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) where more of the testing is being done. Free transportation and dormitories were provided to health workers, aside from food given to police and soldiers manning checkpoints.

“Other private initiatives have also done their part. And I am certain that all these groups that have come together to help, the OVP included, would only be too thrilled if national government agencies came in with their larger budgets and bigger organizations to provide all the equipment and supplies that these institutions need,” Gutierrez stressed, noting that hundreds of requests have yet to be responded to.

“Is the largest crisis the world has faced since World War II really the best time to talk about investigations, particularly of people who have done nothing except do the best they can to help out? I leave it to the PACC, and the rest of national government leadership, to answer this question for themselves,” he added. – With Janvic Mateo

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