Robredo should face probe for 'competing' COVID-19 relief: Duterte's anti-corruption body commissioner

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2020 01:18 PM | Updated as of Apr 02 2020 04:35 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo.

Robredo camp: Call for probe 'ridiculous, inappropriate'

MANILA (2ND UPDATE) - Vice President Leni Robredo should be investigated for allegedly competing with the government's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic, a commissioner of President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-corruption body said Thursday.

Commissioner Manuelito Luna of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) said the National Bureau of Investigation should look into Robredo's fund drive and relief operations for COVID-19 health workers and frontliners since these "compete with" or are "calculated to undermine" the Duterte administration's efforts.

The Vice President's actions may be in violation of the government's policies in addressing the pandemic, the PACC commissioner claimed.

He said Robredo, as a government official, should not compete or undermine the efforts of different government agencies since there are already allotted funds for relief assistance.

"Being a part of the national government, Robredo is barred from competing with the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Office of Civil Defense or the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council..." he said.

Robredo allegedly erred when her office provided free shuttle service and dormitories for frontliners as well as medical gear donations for health workers, among others. 

'RIDICULOUS, INAPPROPRIATE'

Robredo's office said the PACC's call for an investigation is "ridiculous and inappropriate."

"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," Robredo's spokesman Barry Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez said the Vice President mobilized relief drives for COVID-19 frontliners "because it was the right and responsible thing to do."

"She has done all this without requesting additional public funds or seeking expanded powers. She did this because she saw a need, and she took action to meet it," he said.

As of Thursday, Robredo's office said it already delivered medical gear to over 100 hospitals, and local government units nationwide. She has also raised over P40 million from various donors for health workers and frontliners.