Vice President Leni Robredo called out for posing at the Holocaust Memorial

Robredo (center) poses at the Holocaust Memorial with other members of the LP. (Photo from Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan Facebook page.)

(UPDATED), 1st UPDATE. Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo is facing some intense social media scrutiny after photos of her posing with other members of the opposition Liberal Party (LP) at the holocaust memorial in Berlin made the rounds over the weekend.

The photo was first posted in a tweet by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., who has since taken it down.

This being the age of the internet, though, that was still enough time for netizens (many, supporters of President Duterte) to save the photo and re-upload it on social media.

In a tweet posted on Sunday, Baguilat said he deleted the photo “so as not to hurt sensibilities,” but said that they did not mean to demean the place.

Other politicians in the photo with Robredo 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.

The Holocaust Memorial was built in 2004 to honor the lives of Holocaust victims and many take offense when it is used as a photo-op.

Some criticized the vice president for not being sensitive enough and asked her to apologize.

Some, though, noted that this may just be a way for the DDS (Die-hard Duterte Supporters) to pick on Robredo, who has been critical of the administration.

“The [issue] was blown out of proportion. I don’t see anything wrong with it. No one was buried there. It’s just a reminder that the Holocaust happened and that it hopefully does not happen again,” one tweet says in Filipino.

However, for Israeli artist Shahak Shapira, it is inappropriate.

Shapira, whose Yolocaust photo project last year criticized those who take selfies at the memorial, even shared his opinion on Robredo’s photo in a tweet on Sunday.

“My dear Filipino friends: many of you have sent me this pic in the last days because your Vice President seems to be a bit of a douche,” he wrote. “My Yolocaust project is done, but I like your spirit, so here’s my advice: get yourself Photoshop and stick it to the ignorants! ss”

In a series of tweets yesterday, Baguilat said that they “fully understand the plight experienced by Jews under the Nazis” and that they would be “the last to disrespect their memory.”

He likened it to their fight against injustices in the country and said that people’s outrage should extend to the victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines brought by the war on drugs.

“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 (they all went through their own holocaust) and each time we dismiss this as “the new normal”, tuwing tatahimik tayo (whenever we stay silent), we lose our sense of humanity too,” he continued.

In 2016, Duterte likened himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and said that he would “be happy” to slaughter the 3 million drug users and pushers in the Philippines.

Robredo, who had not addressed the issue earlier, apologized for the photo in an ambush interview today and said that there was no malice behind it.

“I want to apologize for offending the sensitivities of others. There was no excuse. While there was no malice in it, I take full responsibility, which is why I would like to apologize for whatever offense to the sensitivities of the people,” she said in Filipino and English.

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