MANILA, Philippines — The vice-president of the Philippines issued a public apology on Tuesday for a photograph showing her and members of her political party posing and smiling at a German Holocaust memorial.
Leni Robredo, who was elected separately from President Rodrigo Duterte, attracted widespread criticism over the photo, which was posted on Twitter by a lawmaker from her opposition Liberal Party.
“While there was no malice in it, I take full responsibility and so I would like to apologize for whatever offense to the sensitivities of the people it caused,” she said in a statement on her website.
“There was no excuse,” said the 52-year-old, who is a staunch critic of Duterte’s hardline policies.
The tweet, since taken down, showed Robredo and several Liberal Party members of the Philippine House of Representatives smiling as they posed for a picture at the Berlin memorial.
Behold, here’s the Fake Vice President of the Philippines Leni Robredo having her pictorial in the The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe also known as the Holocaust Memorial. How insensitive right? Pretty common in the Liberal Party of the Philippines. pic.twitter.com/2v8G9vgoeb
— ForABetterPhilippines???????????????? (@skywards2014) April 14, 2018
“VP Leni Robredo, if you still don’t get it, get a psych test, ASAP,” wrote a Duterte supporter with more than one million followers on Twitter and Facebook who uses the handle iMthinkingPinoy.
House of Representatives member Teddy Baguilat, who tweeted the photo of the smiling lawmakers, issued an apology for the “lapse.”
Everyone in the photograph, who were on a study trip paid for by a German foundation, “fully understands the plight experienced by Jews under the Nazis and we would be the last to disrespect their memory,” he said.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which opened in 2005, commemorates the World War II mass murder of some six million European Jews and other persecuted groups by the German Nazi regime.
Anger at tourists using it as a background for selfies inspired an Israeli-born German artist, Shahak Shapira, to launch a website last year featuring images of the worst offenders blended into horrific backdrops of the Holocaust.