Robredo calls Uson 'fake news' purveyor after online post on Taal relief effort

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2020 12:51 PM | Updated as of Jan 16 2020 03:58 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday questioned Mocha Uson's government tenure after the latter's Facebook page shared supposedly false information on relief packs for evacuees who fled from the rumbling Taal Volcano south of the capital. 

The Facebook page Mocha Uson Blog shared Wednesday a blog post claiming that Robredo's office distributed relief packs with only 5 pieces of "pandesal" and a bottle of water, which the Vice President belied. 

The goods distributed by Robredo's office in Batangas province last Tuesday came from donors and were repacked by volunteers, she said. 

"Wala namang masama sa pandesal pero parang insulto naman ito sa dami ng taong nag-donate sa amin,” the Vice President told reporters. 

(There is nothing wrong with pandesal, but that seems like an insult to the people who donated to us.) 

"Bakit hinahayaan natin na 'yung nagpapakalat ng fake news sinusuwelduhan pa ng pamahalaan?" she added. 

(Why are we letting the government employ someone who spreads fake news?) 

Robredo earlier criticized social media users who shared the blog post by MindaNation. 

"Pati ba naman trahedya, gagamitin pa para magsinungaling," she posted on Facebook. 

(Why use a tragedy to lie?) 

Uson, a deputy executive director of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration who commands 5.6 million Facebook followers, had criticized Robredo for supposedly prioritizing publicity stunts. 

“Hindi nakapagtataka na galit na ang mga tao sa mga istilong bulok na ganito. Hindi din kasi ito ang unang pagkakataong inuna ni Leni ang pagpapa photo ops kaysa sa pagtulong sa mga biktima ng trahedya,” the post read.

(It is not surprising that the public is enraged with these rotten tactics. This is not the first time that Leni prioritized photo ops instead of helping the victims of tragedy.)

The media learned of Robredo's visit to Batangas only hours before the event, when her office replied to questions about her official activities. 

Taal, which sits in the center of a lake, remains under the second highest danger level, meaning a "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days," said seismology institute Phivolcs. 

Its steam-driven eruption on Sunday caused an ashfall that blanketed several Batangas towns, with the gray shower reaching nearby provinces and Metro Manila. 

Thousands have been evacuated as authorities warned of an imminent major eruption.