Panelo counsels Leni: Do good deeds without publicity

Published November 22, 2020, 11:39 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has urged Vice President Leni Robredo to avoid broadcasting her typhoon relief operations and instead let the recipients spread the word.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo

According to Panelo, it is better to do good deeds without the giver seeking publicity.

“If you are there, people will talk about it and word will spread that you’ve been there. It will reach the ears of those who are appreciative of what you’re doing,” Panelo told Robredo during his “Counterpoint” program Friday.

“You don’t have to broadcast every move, every help that you want to give to the people. Mas maganda tahimik lang (It is better to keep it quiet),” he said.

Panelo has criticized Robredo for allegedly politicizing the relief operations and making it appear she was the only government official working during the calamity.   “You want to be credited that you’re helping the people and making it appear that the President is not. ‘Yun ang problema (That’s the problem),” he said.

Robredo recently visited typhoon-hit areas and extended relief goods to storm victims. Photos and videos of the relief operations have been posted on Robredo’s social media accounts supposedly to show where the donations go.

President Duterte has publicly rebuked Robredo for allegedly lying about his supposed absence during the calamity as well as grandstanding in her relief efforts. He told Robredo not to compete with him, as he called her dishonest and incompetent.

Panelo recently apologized to Robredo after reacting to an inaccurate report that she supposedly rode a government plane for her relief efforts to typhoon-hit Catanduanes. 

He contacted Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the source of his original information, to verify the matter and learned that Robredo did not board any military aircraft to the calamity area. It turned out that only relief goods from Robredo’s office were ferried by a military helicopter, he pointed out.

The Palace official initially criticized Robredo for making it appear that she brought the relief goods when she reportedly used a military airplane to a calamity-hit province.  He made the comment after receiving a copy of the text exchange between Lorenzana and former Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) head Arnel Casonava in which the Defense chief supposedly got information that Robredo went to Catanduanes riding a C-130 plane.

Robredo has called out Panelo for supposedly peddling false information, prompting the Palace official to clarify the matter with Lorenzana. The Defense chief has reportedly sent his apology to the Vice President for commenting on an erroneous report submitted to him.

Panelo found nothing wrong with the use of the government resources for relief operations but criticized  Robredo for allegedly making it appear that Duterte was missing in action while she was the only doing the relief work. He said upon the orders of the President, government resources, including relief goods, were already prepositioned ahead of the landfall of the typhoon.