OVP camp: Call on NBI to probe Leni for ‘competition’ in COVID-19 fight is ‘absurd’
MANILA, Philippines — “Ridiculous,” “absurd,” and “out of touch.”
This is how the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo described the call of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate her for “illegal solicitations” and for supposedly competing with the national government’s efforts to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The PACC statement is so ridiculous, so inappropriate, so out of touch, that I had to verify if it was really true. I am deeply disappointed that it was,” Barry Gutierrez, Robredo’s spokesman, said in a statement on Thursday.
Gutierrez noted that Robredo has been initiating projects to address the pandemic even without requesting additional funds or seeking expanded powers.
He enumerated the projects initiated by the Vice President to address the crisis, such as mobilizing donations for personal protective equipment for health workers, organizing free transport services, provision of extraction kits, distribution of food to the police and soldiers manning checkpoints, and setting up dormitories for health workers so they can have places to stay near their respective hospitals.
“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. “And now, unbelievably, the PACC wants to ‘investigate’ her for it. And for what reason? Because she was ‘competing’ with other agencies.”
According to Gutierrez, anyone who insists that the provision of assistance to Filipinos affected by the crisis is a competition “has absolutely no understanding of the gravity of the crisis we are all facing.”
He explained that hospitals suffering from a shortage of PPEs need all the help they can get, regardless of where it comes from.
As of Thursday, the Office of the Vice President has delivered PPEs to over 100 hospitals, clinics and local government units nationwide. Nearly 500 requests for supply of PPEs remain pending, according to Gutierrez.
“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,” he said.
He then asked the PACC if this period of crisis is the best time to conduct investigations on those who have only done their best to help out.
“I leave it to the PACC, and the rest of national government leadership, to answer this question for themselves,” he said.
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