AFP sees no problem if Robredo uses gov't aircraft

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) — One of the false accusations hurled against Vice President Leni Robredo recently was that she boarded a government C-130 plane to reach typhoon-hit Catanduanes.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo has since apologized for accusing Robredo of "free-riding." Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that a Philippine Air Force helicopter merely transported relief goods collected by the Vice President’s office from Legazpi City, Albay to the island province of Catanduanes.

But what if the Vice President — as the second highest official of the land, would actually use a government plane for typhoon efforts? The Armed Forces of the Philippines sees no issue with it.

"The Vice President using naval, land or air assets, wala naman po tayong problema doon," AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in an online media briefing on Wednesday. "Pwede naman po natin siyang tulungan."

[Translation: The Vice President using naval, land or air assets, we have no problem with that. We can help her.]

"Wala pong issue diyan in so far as the Armed Forces of the Philippines is concerned... Kailangan meron silang proper coordination or information ahead of time sa atin," he added.

[Translation: There's no issue in so far as the Armed Forces of the Philippines is concerned. They just need to have proper coordination of inform us ahead of time.]

Arevalo said the Office of the Vice President even has a pending request for security augmentation in areas ravaged by Typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco).

READ: Ulysses death toll rises to 73

He further explained to CNN Philippines that military aircraft can be used for "specific flights that we do outside of purely military purpose if it is related to or in pursuit of AFP mission."

For instance, government aircraft can be used to airlift civilian disaster responders and volunteers, as well as relief goods, Arevalo said.

"Flight missions for the use of government officials in pursuit of their office and functions may be allowed," the AFP spokesperson said, as long as they secure the requirements and depending on the availability of resources and safety considerations.

Early this month, Robredo visited several areas in the Bicol Region which were hit hardest by Super Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni). Less than two weeks later, she coordinated rescue efforts in flood-hit Cagayan province as cries for help flooded social media, due to Typhoon Ulysses.

President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Robredo for "competing" with him and wrongfully claimed she was asking his whereabouts during the onslaught of typhoons when it was the public that made #NasaanAngPangulo (Where is the President?) trend, as they sought accountability from the national government.

LIST: Robredo debunks Duterte admin's false claims on typhoon efforts

CNN Philippines' David Santos contributed to this report.