Administration allies buck Leni probe

Leni Robredo

EVEN allies of the administration are not in favor of investigating Vice President Leni Robredo over her initiative to help address the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In separate statements, Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbi and Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo asked both the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the National Bureau of Investigation to just help the government and stop investigating those extending assistance amid the COVID-19 crisis.

PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna has urged the NBI to probe Robredo over her relief drive to help medical frontliners and people affected by the virus pandemic.

Since the start of lockdown, the Office of the Vice President together with its private donors has been active in providing services for health workers and other frontliners, giving Personal Protective Equipment, medical supplies and other forms of assistance.

Luna even labeled Robredo’s act as “competing with the national government agencies.”

But the solons slammed PACC and reminded Luna that the Vice President is not covered by the administrative jurisdiction since she was not appointed by the President.

Defensor asked the NBI to stop this “stupidity” but instead focus on running after hoarders of medical supplies and those hoarders of food supplies.

“They should go after syndicates soliciting donations. They should stop investigating people trying to help, less it is perceived as political. They should not burden the President with these acts while we are all trying to help fight this disease,” Defensor said.

For his part, Salo said the PACC has no administrative jurisdiction over the Vice President because she is not a presidential appointee.

“Its recommendation to NBI has no probative value,” Salo said, adding that the officer and members of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. are also at risk of getting criminally charged with NBI for their donation drive.

Defensor, Salo and Garbin are members of the PCFI, which has recently donated medical supplies to some government hospitals.

Garbin told PACC that “charity is not a competiton, nor a crime.”

“We heal as one!! This is the mandate of Congress, this is the mandate of the President. Politicking has no place in today’s situation, not when Filipinos are dying, not when Filipinos are sick and hungry,” Garbin said.

The recent request of the PACC to the NBI to investigate VP Robredo for allegedly undermining the government’s effort in defeating the COVID smacks of bad faith and reeks of insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Filipinos, the doctors and nurses and other frontliners, the lawmaker said.

“Magtulungan tayo bilang isang bansa, bilang kapwa Pilipino. Hindi porke kalabang partido ay pipigilan mo tumulong. Hindi ito kompetensya bagkos bayanihan ito para sa ikabubuti nating lahat,” he added.