DISMISSED Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said Tuesday he is ready to face any investigation to clear his name following corruption allegation.
As he respects the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to remove him from his post, Sueno said the Chief Executive could have been fed with the wrong information by those who were "salivating" for his post from the start.
"I wholeheartedly accept the decision of the President. It is his call if he wants me in his Cabinet or not. But for the record, Mr. President, and I can say this with all honesty and sincerity, hindi po ako corrupt," he said in a statement.
"I just wished the information was validated. If only the President asked DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) personnel from the central down to the regional and field offices, he would have known who amongst us are more credible and trustworthy," he said.
He said he is ready to clear his name and he is ready to face any investigation by any concerned group or body.
"My conscience is clear. Inuulit ko po, wala akong ginawa o ginagawang anomalya," he said.
The embattled Sueno said that despite the circumstances, he is grateful for the opportunity to have served the DILG for almost 10 months.
"I believe that I did my best and I gave my whole heart to the job. I am also fortunate to have been given a chance to work with a dedicated and passionate workforce in the DILG," he said.
Duterte sacked Sueno following allegation that he enriched himself during the past months that he has been in office. The allegation stemmed from a letter sent to Malacanang by the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte-National Executive Coordinating Committee, a group which helped Duterte's presidential bid.
One of the issues raised was the alleged anomalous payment of the Rosenbauer firetrucks.
Sueno said there was no way that he could have prevented the purchase of the firetrucks because it was a perfected contract entered into by the previous administration.
“My role was to abide by the provision of the contract which says that I should ensure that the firetrucks to be delivered are in good condition so my team and I had to go to Austria to inspect them. If we did not do that, we cannot anymore complain if they delivered defective firetrucks to us,” he said.
Sueno also said that the firetrucks are actually much cheaper compared to locally-made firetrucks because these are under a soft loan agreement for 23 years with only minimal interest rates.
“The Austrian firetrucks are new ones compared to the locally-made ones which are cheaper but are reconditioned and which are good only for a few years. But then again, this is beside the point. The contract is perfected and I only had to implement it,” he said.
Sueno said that while there is a pending petition preventing the enforcement/implementation of the contract before the Supreme Court, there was no temporary restraining order, any injunctive relief or even a status quo ante order issued by the court suspending or holding the same in abeyance.
On the other corruption issues that were thrown against him, he said that the truth will prevail in the end.
“What goes around comes around. I hope that they (referring to his detractors) will do better than I did in the DILG. I may be old, I may not be as articulate as my three lawyer-undersecretaries, but if there is one thing that I am sure of is I am not corrupt.” (SDR/Sunnex)