MANILA – Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Thursday addressed allegations that she was using a presidential aircraft for her “personal Manila-Davao City trip” on a daily basis.
In a statement, Duterte said she hoped the person behind the malicious claim would “reflect” on his lies.
“I believe that a person who can conjure a lie from an appreciation post — that a helicopter is being used to go home every day, even giving in to the itch of maliciously suggesting that it is for personal use — should seriously reflect on why he had to lie,” she said.
She insisted it was an appreciation post intended to express gratitude to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for supporting both her official and personal duties as a mother.
Duterte also thanked the presidential team for their “tireless” work, like “hopping from one island province to another” just to visit Filipinos.
Amid the issue, the Vice President advised the person behind the claim to “recognize his anger and overcome bitterness.”
“I think that if this person can recognize his anger, he will be able to overcome his bitter and spiteful self. Hopefully, he becomes a better version of himself — despite the cycle of hate that has enslaved him,” she said.
Possible filing of raps
The OVP, meanwhile, said it is now looking into the possible filing of criminal charges against those spreading the false claim.
“Pinag-aaralan ho namin ‘yan, kung magku-qualify ‘yan sa isang kriminal na kaso, kasi marami rin hong naloko at nalinlang ang ganyang post. At alam naman ho nating ‘pag pinabayaan nating mag-propagate po ‘yan, minsan naniniwala ‘yung taong bayan (We are studying it, if it will qualify to criminal charge because many have been deceived by such deceitful posts, and we know that if we allow this to propagate, the general public may be swayed)” said OVP Spokesperson Reynold Munsayac in a video statement.
Munsayac sent the video in a Viber thread with reporters, reiterating that the online speculations were just “fake news."
This still pertains to the birthday greeting and appreciation post of Duterte for Marcos, where she thanked him for allowing her to use the presidential aircraft (250th presidential airlift wing).
During the press briefing, Munsayac said it was “improbable” for the aircraft itself to take long-range travel, particularly the Manila-Davao City route.
"Ang helicopters normally ang range lang niyan, 400, siguro maximum, 700 kilometers, noh without a refuel. 'Yung layo po ng Manila, papuntang Davao, almost 1,000 kilometers away na. So, medyo incredible ho at improbable ho (Helicopters typically can cover a range of 400 to 700 kilometers, at maximum, without refueling. But the distance from Manila to Davao is almost 1,000 kilometers, so that’s incredible and improbable),” he noted.
Munsayac also reiterated there is no need for Duterte to travel to and from Davao City, since she’s now based in Manila, with her family.
"She doesn't use government resources for personal purposes, kung gumagamit man ho siya ng helicopter at 'yan po ay para sa official functions, at dahil ho sa access na 'yan sa mga sasakyan na 'yan ay natatapos niya nang mahusay 'yung kanyang mga obligasyon within the day, kaya po siya nakakauwi sa gabi, 'yun lang 'yung punto ng kanyang pasasalamat (That’s for official functions only. And because of her access to such aircraft, she efficiently finishes her obligations within the day and she’s able to go home after work. That’s the point of her message)," he added.
Duterte, meanwhile, spent her Thursday joining residents of Bulacan in commemorating the 124th anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress, where she highlighted its historical relevance to the country's democracy.
"Mahalaga ang pagdiriwang na ito sa ating kasaysayan bilang mga Pilipino dahil ang pagbubukas ng Kongreso ng Malolos noong September 15, 1898, ang naging hudyat ng pagsilang ng isang malayang republika — ang Republika ng Pilipinas — kung saan itinuring tayong pinakaunang malayang republika sa Asya (This celebration is important in our hisyory as Filipinos, because the opening of the Malolos Congress on September 15, 1898 fueled the birth of a free republic, the Republic of the Philippines, wherein we were the first known free republic in Asia)," she said. (PNA)