MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday said it was "unacceptable" for the National Bureau of Investigation to probe "innovative" local officials such as Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NBI earlier said Sotto may have violated provisions in the Bayanihan Act over his proposal to allow tricycles to operate in his jurisdiction despite a ban on public transportation during the lockdown period.
"Unacceptable siya kasi nakita natin na unang-una, yung mensahe ng Pangulo nung umpsia pa, pinapasa sa LGU yung pag-asikaso ng kaniya-kaniyang jurisdiction," Robredo told ANC.
"Kailangan ina-appreciate natin yung mga local officials na nag-i-innovate, na creative sa solusyon na pinapakita, local officials na nakikita natin inaasikaso yung kaniyang mga tao. Yung move ng NBI, kontra yun sa dapat ini-encourage natin at a time like this."
The Vice President earlier expressed support to the young mayor, who had defended her hometown of Naga City, after President Rodrigo Duterte branded it as a "hotbed" of illegal drugs.
Senators and celebrities have also expressed their support for Sotto, with the hashtag "#ProtectVico" topping Twitter's worldwide trends hours after the NBI issued last week its invitation to the mayor for questioning.
In a separate interview on Sunday, Sotto told ANC he already sent a letter reply to the NBI and will just await what happens next.
He expressed confidence nothing will come out of the probe.
Robredo said innovative local governments should be "celebrated."
"Parati kong paniniwala na yung strong local government units ang makakapagbigay ng progress sa ating bansa. Yung ginawa ng NBI, salungat yun sa konseptong ito," she said.
"Tingin ko, pag may innovation na nakakabuti sa mamamayan, kailangan binibigyan ng pansin para maging best practice na gayahin ng ibang local government."
Among Pasig City's initiatives against COVID-19 was buying disinfection drones, turning some motels into quarantine facility and accommodation for frontline staff, providing free transportation to health workers, and setting up sanitation tents in public areas.
All city government employees, regular or contractual, will also get their full salaries during the lockdown, Sotto earlier said.