By Junex Doronio
REALIZING THEIR GAFFE, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana have apologized to Vice President Leni Robredo for erroneously reporting that she boarded a Philippine Air Force C-130 plane for her relief operations in Catanduanes.
“I requested the Philippine Air Force to confirm through their flight manifest and they reported that there was no instance that Vice President Robredo boarded any military aircraft in going to Catanduanes,” Lorenzana admitted.
Robredo strongly denied an allegation by Panelo that she boarded a government-owned C-130 plane when she visited her native Bicol region to send relief aid to typhoon survivors. Panelo pointed to Lorenzana as his source.
“The information did not come from me, I was only reacting [to] that information. That is why I apologized to her for reacting on a wrong info,” Panelo explained in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday.
Robredo said she “never used a C-130 plane” of the government.
“Ang dami naming ginagawa sa opisina na hindi naman ako sa kanila humihingi ng tulong,” Robredo said.
In a speech aired Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lambasted Robredo for “grandstanding” during the height of typhoon Ulysses and acting as if the Armed Forces obeyed her orders.
“You make it appear na gumalaw ang Armed Forces (that the Armed Forces acted). You are not part of the command,” Duterte fumed.
The President said that government personnel and resources were already prepositioned two to three days before the typhoon made landfall.
Panelo claimed that after learning about his mistake, he quickly sent a text message apologizing to Robredo.
But the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel maintained that while he was sorry for accusing the Vice President of boarding a military plane, he was not apologizing for statements he made about Robredo using government resources to aid in relief efforts.
“In other words, my critical narrative was on the basis of her camp has been criticizing the President for not doing his work, and then highlighting her distributing of relief goods, you cannot be saying that the President is not doing something and you’re doing something, you make it appear that the President and the administration are remiss on their duties,” Panelo said. (AI//MTVN)