VICE PRESIDENT Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has apologized for posing for a photo together with her fellow Liberal Party members in the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, Germany, saying “there was no excuse.”
“They (the critics) have a point, that’s why I have to apologize for offending the sensibilities of others. There was no excuse,” Robredo said in a chance interview during the Asian Forum on Enterprise for Society where she was keynote speaker.
The Holocaust, carried out by then Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler and his forces, subjected the Jews to slave labor and mass murder, including sending them to gas chambers for being “undesirable.” The Holocaust killed six million Jews across Europe from 1941 to 1945.
“While there was no malice in it, I take full responsibility. That’s why I would like to apologize,” Robredo, who also serves as LP Chairperson, added.
The photo that stirred controversy was taken last week when Robredo and some members of the LP joined a study tour on the invitation of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF)-Philippines where they engaged in discussions on various aspects of governance, aimed at finding solutions geared towards poverty elimination and social justice.
It made rounds on the Internet after LP lawmaker Teddy Baguilat posted the photo on his Twitter account.
Baguilat also apologized for the photo and stressed that LP members would never disrespect victims of the genocide.
“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. I apologize for this lapse in my post,” Baguilat said in a statement.
The LP members’ photo, however, was not the first time that Philippine government officials displayed lack of sensitivity to the plight of the Holocaust victims.
In October 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte apologized for likening the drug war killings to the massacre of the Jews.
The President said: “[Adolf] Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, there are three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them. At least if Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have you know (pausing and pointing to himself), my victims, I would like to be, all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition.” LLANESCA T. PANTI