Ro­bredo, Baguilat apol­o­gize for Holocaust Memo­rial photo

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - – He­len Flores

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.

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