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House members slam PACC call to probe VP

Keith A. Calayag

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VICE President Leni Robredo is not an appointive official in government, thus is not within the administrative jurisdiction of PACC. W. Commons

Lawmakers on Thursday slammed the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) for calling for a probe into Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s efforts to address COVID-19 pandemic.

In a text message to reporters, Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo said the agency has no administrative jurisdiction over the Vice President because she is not a presidential appointee.

“Its recommendation to NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) has no probative value,” he said.

PACC Chief Manuelito Luna said the NBI should look into Robredo’s fund drive and relief operations since these allegedly compete with and undermine the Duterte administration’s efforts.

Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin slammed the PACC, saying its move “smacks of bad faith and reeks of insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Filipinos, the doctors and nurses and other frontliners.”

Garbin said the vice president should not be stopped from helping for the reason that she is from the opposition.

He also reminded Luna of his office’s mandate under Executive Order 43 which is to assist the President in investigating administrative cases involving graft and corruption against presidential appointees and conduct fact-finding inquiries on acts and omissions of all presidential employees.

The lawmaker urged the PACC to stay within the bounds of its mandate and help the country by securing, in whatever capacity, food for the people and protective gear for the frontliners.

“As it appears, the PACC has exceeded its jurisdiction and authority and for what purpose? Kaya nasisira ang pangalan nang gobyerno dahil sa mga ganito,” Garbin said.

If the PACC wants the vice president investigated, he said it can do so after the crisis not now that “every helping hand, every effort no matter how big or small is needed by the government and by the people.”

Anakalusugan Rep. Defensor slammed the move and said the NBI should instead go against syndicates soliciting donations and hoarders.

“They should stop investigating people trying to help, less it is perceived as political. They should not burden the President with these acts while we are all trying to help fight this disease,” Defensor said.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate for his part said the PACC’s call is nothing but harassment and is similar to what the NBI is doing to Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto.

“The PACC and the NBI are harassing those who are only helping people and doing their jobs like Mayor Vico and VP Leni as well as ordinary citizens voicing out their sentiments in social media,” he said.

NBI earlier asked Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto for an explanation on his alleged violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act for allegedly allowing tricycle drivers to operate in his city.

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