President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly ordered the firing of Manuelito Luna, the commissioner of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), for calling for an investigation of Vice President Leni Robredo on allegedly “competing” with the government on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) relief.
“Wala namang kasalanan ang Vice President. Bakit ipaimbestiga? (The Vice President is not at fault. Why investigate her?),” said Duterte in a public address Friday night.
“Ito naman, may tao ako na abugado sa PACC, commissioner Manuelito Luna. Gusto nya ipaimbestiga si Leni kung bakit magsolicit. Anak ng… Kaya nung narinig ko, sabi ko, ‘fire him.’ As of this moment, he is no longer connected with government,” Duterte said.
Duterte also warned the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) officials they would meet the same fate if they would push with the investigation.
Duterte praised Robredo’s moves to solicit aid to help frontliners battling the spread of COVID-19.
“Tama yan maghingi ka ng tulong sa kapwa mo tao (It’s right that you ask for help),” Duterte said, referring to Robredo.
Duterte acknowledged that he did not always see eye-to-eye with the Vice President, an opposition figure whom he had fired from his Cabinet twice over his administration.
On the other hand, Duterte said it was not right for Luna to call for a probe on Robredo.
Luna had called on the NBI to investigate Robredo’s efforts.
Luna said these had “competed” with government relief operations.
Robredo dismissed the call.
The Vice President’s camp called it ridiculous and out of touch.
Lawmakers across party lines rallied around Robredo, whose office has been active in coordinating transportation, lodging, and equipment for frontline health workers, among other things.
Meanwhile, PACC Chairman Dante Jimenez and Commissioner Greco Belgica have disowned Luna’s call, saying it was his personal opinion and not of the commission./Stacy Ang