By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission (PACC) may be “out of touch” for calling a probe into her donation efforts during the coronavirus disease (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,” vice presidential spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
“Since Day One of the COVID- 19 crisis, VP Leni has done all she could to help health workers, government institutions, and ordinary Filipinos overcome the challenges they have had to face due to the restrictions on travel, the shortages in supplies, and, of course, the ever present threat of infection,” he added.
Gutierrez responded to PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna’s call to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to go after Robredo for “illegal solicitations” and supposedly for competing with the government efforts against the virus outbreak.
Luna was referring to the Office of the Vice President’s (OVP) free shuttle service, dormitories, and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets for health workers and front liners.
These, he claimed, may be in violation of the “NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council) Law and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Solicitation Permit Law and Related Issuances, the measures and protocols of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emergent Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to arrest the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and for accounting.”
Gutierrez said Robredo did not request for additional public funds or seek expanded powers like President Duterte for the OVP assistance drive.
As of Thursday, Robredo’s office was able to deliver 33,075 PPE sets to 107 hospitals in Metro Manila and some Luzon provinces from the P42.5 million worth of public donations.
The Research Institute for Tropical Medicime (RITM) in Muntinlupa City also received P5.3 million worth of extractions kits from OVP.
“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,” Gutierrez said.
“Anyone who insists that bringing much needed assistance to hospitals, health workers, and poor Filipinos is somehow a ‘competition’ has absolutely no understanding of the gravity of the crisis we are all facing,” he said.
“In the meantime, rest assured, VP Leni will continue to do all she can to help,” Gutierrez said.