Opposition senators ‘outraged’ by call to probe Robredo over COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition senators on Thursday expressed outrage over calls to probe Vice President Leni Robredo for supposedly competing with and undermining the national government’s response against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
Presidential Anti-Corruption Commissioner (PACC) Manuelito Luna earlier came under fire after calling on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into Robredo’s alleged “illegal solicitation.”
“When has helping people become a crime? Is it a crime to look for resources so that our health care workers are protected when they attend to the sick?” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros said in a joint statement.
The three senators are part of the Senate minority bloc with Senator Leila de Lima.
“Is it a crime to offer free shuttle vehicles so that our essential service providers in this unprecedented shutdown of business operations can get to work?” the senators said.
Pangilinan said in a separate tweet that the PACC should get their act together and not add to the fiasco.
“Puwede ba PACC tumulong na lang kayo? Huwag niyo na dagdagan ang kapalpakan. Hindi kayo nakakatulong. Magsiayos kayo,” Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said over Twitter.
Hontiveros also came to the defense of Robredo, pointing out that the latter’s “initiatives in helping out our health workers and frontliners complement the efforts of the national government.”
“Hindi kompetisyon ang pagtulong. Hindi kailangan ng inggitan ngayon,” she said in a separate tweet.
“Ang talo kasi dito ay ang mga Pilipinong naghihingalo sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis,” the senator added.
Robredo has since rolled out several projects through the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in support of the country’s frontliners addressing COVID-19.
The OVP earlier raised P36 million for the procurement of PPEs for health workers. As of March 31, Robredo said they were able to distribute over 32,000 sets of personal protective equipment in the National Capital Region and Luzon.
A free shuttle service for health workers was also launched following the suspension of public transportation due to the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
The OVP also opened free dormitories that will serve as temporary shelters of the frontliners.
“Saving lives is not a contest but everyone’s business. We cannot allow ourselves to sit by and watch our people risking their own safety, getting sick, and worse, dying without adequate medical attention. We cannot afford partisan politics and bureaucratic juggernauts to lead us into national paralysis,” the minority bloc’s joint statement further read.
“We have to be at the forefront in responding to the needs and demands of our people during this most trying time of our nation’s history. We need to ensure that help is on the way even under extraordinary circumstances. We hope the PACC and everyone in government see it that way too,” it added.
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