MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday denied being part of a group who critics say was seeking to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
Robredo, interviewed in Marinduque, said she has yet to report back to her office, but that she was aware that she was being linked to a public conversation from a Yahoo! groups whose members are supposedly plotting Duterte's ouster.
"Sa akin naman, parang nakakagulat na kung sikreto yung pinag-uusapan doon, bakit public yung grupo? Hindi ko alam kung ano yung participation ko, name-mention daw yung pangalan ko, pero hindi ako kabahagi ng grupong iyon," she said
(For me, it would be surprising that if what was conversed there was supposedly secret, why was the group public? I do not know my participation, my name was reportedly mentioned, but I am not part of that group.)
"Meron ding mga emails na nagsi-circulate. Hindi rin ako kabahagi doon. Na-me-mention yata yung pangalan ko--na hindi naman surprising na ma-mention yung pangalan ko kasi ako yung Pangalawang Pangulo," she said.
(There are also emails that are circulating. I am also not part of that. I think my name was being mentioned--but it would not be surprising that my name be mentioned because I am the Vice President.)
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and online forensics experts are already verifying social media rumors.
Meanwhile, Robredo maintained that her camp, in fact, had been on the receiving end of the fake news, but as much as possible, she would rather focus on her job.
"Gusto ko sanang mag-concentrate sa trabaho kasi sa tingin ko lang, ang daming viciousness ngayon sa internet. Meron kaming mandato na kailangang gampanan, na kung magpapadala kami sa kasamaan na nangyayari online, paano namin magagampanan yung aming mandato?" she said.
(I would want to concentrate on my job because I think there is so much viciousness in the internet nowadays. We have a mandate to perform, and if we get tangled with the bad things online, how would we accomplish this?)
"Sa akin naman, as much as I can, yung focus ko, nasa trabaho kaya kahit ganun yung tira sa akin, pinagbubuhusan ko talaga ng panahon yung trabaho ko," she added.
(For me, as much as I can, my focus is on my job, I put my time on my work.)
Robredo said she last spoke with Fil-Am community leader Loida Nicholas-Lewis before or during the campaign period. She recalled, Nicholas-Lewis supported her candidacy as a district representative because the Fil-Am leader is also from Bicol.
Nicholas-Lewis, a prominent lawyer-businesswoman, was among those tagged in the ouster plot against Duterte. She has denied these allegations.
"Sinasabi po nag-meet daw kami noon sa Amerika. Hindi po yun totoo. Ni personal meeting, ni tawag sa telepono, hindi po kami nagtawagan o nag-meet sa America. Yung kumakalat na balita, hindi po yun totoo," she said.
(They said we met up in America. That is not true. Even a personal meeting or a phone conversation, we did not phone each other or meet in America. The news circulating is not true.)
Robredo said it is saddening that even Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre also allegedly said she stayed overnight at Nicholas-Lewis' home while she was in the US recently.
"Naku, nakakalungkot naman po. Kung totoo po na sinabi iyan ng ating DOJ Secretary, pati ba naman siya kabahagi na ng pagsisinungaling?," she said.
(That is saddening. If it is true that our DOJ Secretary said that, even he is in on the lies?)
"Secretary po siya ng DOJ, sana po hindi siya nagsasabi ng mga kasinungalingan. Kasi iyon po talaga, kasinungalingan. Hindi ko po nakausap (si Nicholas-Lewis), hindi ko nakita man lang pagpunta ko ng America," she added.
(He is the Secretary of DOJ, I hope he is not saying these lies. Because that is a lie. I did not talk to her, I did not even see her when I went to America.)