MANILA, Philippines – TV host and actress Kris Aquino, the younger sister of President Benigno Aquino III, drew the ire of social media users over photos that showed her arriving in Cebu for a Liberal Party (LP) campaign sortie via a presidential chopper.
In a video clip taken by ABS-CBN News, the younger Aquino addressed the issue herself. She told the audience at a rally in Hagonoy, Bulacan on April 21, Thursday that accusations are being hurled at her online.
“Binubugbog po ako sa social media. Sinasabi mapang-abuso daw ang pamilyang Aquino, makapal daw ang mukha namin dahil ginagamit ko daw ang presidential chopper para mangampanya.”
(I’m being bashed on social media. They are saying that the Aquino family has been taking advantage of this, that we are shameless because I’m using the presidential chopper to campaign.)
Kris has been joining the President in various events across the country, including LP campaign rallies.
“Puwede bang ipagtanggol ‘nyo ako? (Can you defend me?)” she asked the crowd as she also explained that she had difficulties getting to the venue in Hagonoy.
“Kasi sa totoo lang po, one hour na po ako naghihintay. Ang mga guards na kasama ko naloka na lang dahil binuksan ko ang pintuan at sinabi ko, ‘Maglakad na tayo, dahil nakakahiyang paghintayin ang Hagonoy.'”
(In fact, I’ve been waiting for an hour. The guards were even startled when I told them that we should just walk, because it’s embarrassing to make the people of Hagonoy wait.)
“Ginawa ko iyan dahil ang pamilyang Aquino, 100% ang suporta kay Mar Roxas!” she later added in the video.
(I did this because the Aquino family is showing its 100% support for Mar Roxas!)
Palace Spokesman Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in an earlier statement that “members of the President’s immediate family are allowed to ride with him in official government vehicles.”
The 250th Presidential Airlift Wing (PAW) serves the president, members of the presidential family, and state VIPs, among others. Past presidents had taken members of their families on the presidential chopper as well for official engagements, along with select guests.
The President also addressed the online uproar from the chopper photos.
“Hindi ko rin nakita kung ano ‘yung pinuna nila. Tanong ko lang: siguro batid naman nang lahat na isa siya sa pinakamalaking individual taxpayer,” he told the media at an interview in Batangas, April 21. (READ: Aquino defends Kris’ chopper ride: Why the criticism?)
(I don’t see what they’re criticizing. My question: I guess all of them know that my sister is among the biggest individual taxpayers.)
President Aquino later added, “So, sinama si Kris? Alam ‘nyo palagay ko hindi ko nakita kung sino ‘yung mga pumupuna, palagay ko same set of characters eh. Ibig sabihin ‘non ‘yung wala nang nakitang maganda sa ginawa ko, tuloy-tuloy pa rin sila, eh ‘di thank you.“
(So, Kris was with me. I haven’t learned who’s been criticizing, but I think it’s the same set of characters. That means these are the people who have never seen anything good in what I do. They’re still at it, so thank you.)
Earlier in March, Kris announced that she would take time off from her television career, and her ABS-CBN show, Kris TV, aired its final episode on the 23rd of the same month. She cited health reasons for her break from showbiz.
In mid-April, Kris started to join her brother, the President, in campaigns for LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and his running mate, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo.
She clarified in a Meycauayan rally last April 15 that it was her own personal decision to help campaign for Roxas and Robredo. – Rappler.com