MANILA - Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Thursday he sees no violation committed by Vice President Leni Robredo in pursuing relief operations to support the needy amid the lockdown in Luzon to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This after Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission commissioner Manuelito Luna called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into Robredo's fund drive and relief operations as these "compete with" or are "calculated to undermine" the Duterte administration's efforts.
"Parang wala naman ako nakikitang violation doon. I look at the Bayanihan Act, parang wala naman siya violation doon," Año said in a phone interview.
(I don't think there's a violation there. I look at the Bayanihan Act, it looks like she does not have any violation.)
He was referring to the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, the measure that gives additional powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to respond to the pandemic.
"Sa tingin ko naman, anybody can provide assistance as long as mayroon kang coordination sa government agency, para wala ka namang tinatapakan," he said.
(I think anybody can provide assistance as long as you have coordination with a government agency, so you won't step on anyone.)
In calling for a probe on Robredo, Luna said the Vice President's actions may be in violation of the government's policies in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak.
"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..." said Luna.
His PACC colleague, fellow commissioner Greco Belgica, released a statement Thursday afternoon explaining that Luna's statement was his own opinion, not the stand of the commission.
Robredo's office has called Luna's petition "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.
Robredo's office has provided much needed personal protective equipment, free transport and dormitories for health workers, among others.
- With a report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News