MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday, April 3, sacked Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Commissioner Manuelito Luna, after the latter wanted a probe against Vice President Leni Robredo's relief efforts during the coronavirus outbreak.
"As of this moment, he's no longer connected with government," Duterte said in a late night speech on Friday.
Luna had earlier released a statement saying the National Bureau of Investigation should investigate Robredo for "competing" with the national government during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Luna, unsatisfied with Robredo's efforts to help frontliners, suggested that the Vice President's actions "compete with, or calculated to undermine, national government efforts in this time of public health emergency or national calamity."
The incident ignited a surge of backlash, prompting the PACC to distance itself from Luna. PACC chief Greco Belgica went as far as releasing his own statement, disowning Luna's moves as reflective of the entire commission.
Duterte on Friday night lashed out at Luna, saying Robredo was right to seek help from private donors.
"Mayroon talagang taong gago. Si Leni was calling on the private sector…maghingi siya ng tulong. Tama 'yan. Maghingi ka ng tulong sa kapwa tao," Duterte said.
"Ngayon may tao na abogado sa PACC commissioner, Manuelito Luna. Gusto niya paimbestiga si Leni kung bakit siya nag-solicit. Anak ka ng– Kaya nung narinig ko, sabi ko, 'Fire him,'" he added.
(Some people are really stupid. Leni was calling on the private sector to ask for help. That's right. Ask for help from other people. Now, there is this lawyer, a PACC commissioner, Manuelito Luna. He wanted Leni investigated for soliciting. Son of a– When I heard that, I said, "Fire him.")
Robredo's office, through her flagship anti-poverty program Angat Buhay, has been soliciting donations to provide personal protective equipment for health workers, COVID-19 extraction kits for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, food for police and soldiers at checkpoints, and free dormitories for frontliners.