MANILA - (UPDATED) Vice President Leni Robredo apologized on Tuesday after drawing flak for posing for a photo at a memorial for millions of genocide victims under Nazi Germany.
In an ambush interview, Robredo said while she and fellow Liberal Party stalwarts meant no malice in the photo, she is still sorry for offending the sensibilities of others.
“Gusto ko mag-apologize for offending the sensitivities of others. There was no excuse. While there was no malice in it, I take full responsibility kaya I would like to apologize for whatever offense to the sensitivities of the people," she said.
Robredo and her party-mates drew flak for the photo taken at the Holocaust Memorial in Germany's capital. It was Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. who shared the image on Twitter.
Shown in the photo were LP president and Senator Francis Pangilinan, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, and former budget secretary Florencio Abad.
Baguilat eventually took down the photo, but not before some supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte shared it on their own social media feeds, accusing LP members of disrespecting Holocaust victims.
Baguilat tweeted late Monday that his group posed at the Holocaust Memorial "not to demean the place." He said he took down the photo "so as not to hurt sensibilities."
"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," he added.
The congressman, who is critical of the administration's war on drugs, also said he hopes the incident "will make others express their outrage over the EJKs (extra-judicial killings)."
"The blood stains on the streets are their memorial," he 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 mentioned that LP's overseas"study trip" was paid for by a German Foundation with whom they "discussed shared democratic values." --report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News