Senate bets ask Comelec to exempt OVP’s COVID-19 efforts from election ban

By LLANESCA T. PANTI, GMA News

Published February 9, 2022 8:15pm

Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial candidates have called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to grant her request to exempt the Office of the Vice President’s COVID-19 response efforts from the election ban due to humanitarian grounds.

Former Ifugao representative Teddy Baguilat, labor leader Sonny Matula, former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, lawyer Alex Lacson, Senator Leila de Lima and human rights lawyer Chel Diokno were referring to Robredo’s office initiatives providing free COVID-19 antigen testing, teleconsultation, as well as manpower support in terms of health workers for the COVID-19 vaccination program of local government units.

“Helping suffering communities during a crisis is Leni’s regular program and her work as a Vice President doesn’t stop now that she is a candidate. Will mayors stop their programs as mayors because they’re candidates?” Baguilat said in a statement released during Day 2 of the 90-day campaign.

“The Comelec exemption is important since workers directly need the quality public service that only the OVP (Office of the Vice President) with its vast network and experience can provide. We hope the commissioners realize that VP Leni has been consistently providing aid to the needy even before the start of the campaign period,” Matula said.

The Office of the Vice President (OVP) has suspended the implementation of its COVID-19 response efforts pending Comelec’s decision on their request to exempt these programs from election ban.

Trillanes and Lacson said providing assistance to the needy was not politicking.

“The Comelec should be able to discern what is a cheap political gimmick and a genuine act of compassion. VP Leni herself said it. Her office can act and help without attention-grabbing,” Trillanes said.

“Our people’s needs cannot wait. This is beyond politics.” Lacson added.

De Lima and Diokno, on the other hand, said that Robredo has always shown sincerity in her efforts to be of help.

“VP Leni has the courage, talent, hard work and care for the nation and the Filipino people, especially those at the bottom of our society,” de Lima said.

“The OVP’s programs are a big help to many Filipinos that’s why they should not be dragged into the campaign of VP Leni. In addition, these programs fill the gaps of the government during this pandemic especially in terms of aid and testing,” Diokno added.

Robredo earlier said that she would not physically attend COVID-19 response activities of her office to spare the efforts from her 2022 presidential bid. –NB, GMA News

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