MANILA - Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Thursday criticized the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for saying that his camp "politicized and sensationalized" a quarantine-related investigation againt him, saying the agency was the one who allowed the media to cover the issue.
Sotto gave the statement hours after NBI deputy director Ferdinand Lavin told ANC that the probe against Sotto has been "politicized and sensationalized."
"According to NBI Deputy Dir. Lavin, the issue has been 'politicized & sensationalized.' I agree," Sotto said in a tweet.
"But with all due respect sir, pls stop and think why it reached this point: Side niyo ang nag-leak ng kopya ng sulat sa reporter. Nagpa-receive tao niyo sa opis ko, may kasama pang media," he said.
(It was your side who leaked a copy of the letter to a reporter. Your men brought media when they went to my office to give the letter.)
The NBI earlier drew online flak after thousands of netizens castigated the agency for persecuting a "well-performing" mayor who was finding ways to address the coronavirus crisis in his city.
The hashtag #ProtectVico soared as the top worldwide trend on Twitter after celebrities and influencers joined the public outcry against the NBI's probe against the Pasig City mayor.
In his interview, Lavin said the NBI's anti-graft division merely asked Sotto about his proposal to allow tricycle drivers to continue operating in his city despite a ban on public transport under the Luzon-wide lockdown.
"This is an invitation, not a subpoena, Hindi lang naman ito kay Mayor Sotto. Medyo na-politicize lang ito, na-sensationalize," he said.
(This is not just for Mayor Sotto. This was just a bit politicized, sensationalized.)
The NBI also asked Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, a barangay officer in Las Pinas and other officials to explain quarantine and physical distancing violations, he said.