Robredo, Baguilat apologize for Holocaust Memorial photo
Vice President Leni Robredo apologized yesterday for a controversial photo of her and several Liberal Party (LP) officials at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany.
In the photo recently posted by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat on Twitter, Robredo and the LP officials and lawmakers were seen happily posing at the monument, which honors Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The photo drew flak from netizens, saying it was “insensitive,” “disrespectful” and “stupid.” Baguilat deleted the post after receiving criticisms online.
“There was no excuse (for it),” the Vice President said in a chance interview at the Asian Forum on Enterprise for Society in Pasay City.
“While there was no malice in it, I take full responsibility, I would like to apologize for whatever offense to the sensitivities of the people it caused,” she said.
Robredo, who chairs the LP, along with LP president Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal, Dinagat Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat and former budget secretary Florencio Abad went on a study tour for poverty alleviation in Berlin last week.
Baguilat, in a Twitter post, said he posted the photo “not to demean the place” and that he took it down immediately so as not to offend sensibilities.
He also said sorry for the “lapse” in posting the photo, saying: “We, as human rights advocates, fully understand the plight experienced by Jews under the Nazis and we would be the last to disrespect their memory, in the same way that we condemn injustice anywhere in the world, including our own country.”
“As Liberals, we listen to all sorts of opinions. And we are appreciative of the countless advocates of human rights for sharing their thoughts. I hope this will make others express their outrage over the EJKs (extrajudicial killings). The blood stains on the streets are their memorial,” Baguilat said.
“Victims of EJKs, slain journalists and environmental advocates, slain tribal leaders – dumaan din sila sa kanilang holocaust and each time we dismiss this as ‘the new normal,’ tuwing tatahimik tayo, we lose our sense of humanity too,” Baguilat added.
Earlier, Robredo said their Berlin visit was “fully funded” by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF)-Philippines.
The LP delegation engaged in discussions on various aspects of governance aimed at finding solutions geared toward poverty elimination and social justice, she said.
The FNF periodically hosts study visits for leaders in developing countries to give them the opportunity to dialogue with officials and key figures from other countries such as Germany.
Prior to her visit to Germany, Robredo also went to the United Kingdom upon the invitation of the Development Studies Institute, the student organization of the London School of Economics and Political Science, on April 6.