A private organization called National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) funded the trip of Vice President Leni Robredo to attend the 12th National Empowerment Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on August 4, 2016. This is the admission of some of its members when they were interviewed. Watch video below.
On the video, Flippinflips asked a woman as who was paying for VP Leni Robredo’s visit. She said that it was paid for by the group itself. That time, VP Leni Robredo was still the chief of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC). However, the issue here is that the NaFAA sponsored her trip, and it is somehow questionable.
“With all due respect, Ma’m. You do know that it’s unconstitutional, right? Public servant receiving private donation and solicitation.” Flippinflips said. “It’s not a donation,” another woman said, adding that it was the second official trip of VP Robredo. Her first official trip was in Thailand, and was sponsored by the National Council for Women of Thailand.
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“Why is it official? What is it have to do with the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council?” Flippinflips asked her. The woman said that VP Robredo was assigned by Duterte, and that the group invited her during the election campaign period. Flippinflips then emphasized that Robredo should not be receiving money from them.
“I mean (President) Obama is not going to receive money from people like you, why does (VP) Robredo have to accept it?” Flippinflips asked again. But apparently, the interview ended with the women having no clear answer or explanation on why the NaFAA have to shoulder the expenses of VP Robredo’s trip if it is really related to her job as HUDDC chief.
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We at Taho News are not lawyers, but we do understand RA 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act), which prohibits any public official from accepting directly or indirectly a gift from a person other than a member of the public officer’s immediate family. Therefore, we think that the Office of the Ombudsman should take a closer look on VP Robredo’s US trip.