Santiago seeks probe on Puno's 'unique powers'-A A +A
Saturday, September 8, 2012
MANILA -- Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago is seeking a congressional investigation on the "unique and exceptional powers" given to Rico Puno as Undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"I see, as I said, a sinister conspiracy of silence over the Puno case, both on the part of Palace minions and on the part of Mr. Puno himself," the senator said.
Santiago said the inquiry would cover the alleged break-in of Puno into the condominium unit of the late Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on August 19, just a day after the plane carrying Robredo and three others crashed off the waters of Masbate City.
Santiago said Malacanang's silence on the issue involving Puno is an indication of "infighting among the Malacanang factions."
"They're both fighting for the ear of the President. The President is never free of the 'bulong' [whisper] brigades in Malacanang," she added.
The conflict between the two factions in the Aquino Cabinet—the "Balay" and "Samar" groups—have reportedly reignited due to the vacancy created by Robredo's passing.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, officer-in-charge of the DILG, is identified with the Samar group while newly-appointed Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II belongs to the Balay group.
After his appointment was announced, Roxas wanted Puno out of DILG but Ochoa said the undersecretary would remain part of the DILG family.
Senator Santiago, meanwhile, challenged Puno to defend himself.
"Be transparent. If you are innocent, answer the accusations against you. Bakit siya nananahimik? [Why is he silent] This is all puzzling to me," Santiago said. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)