Santiago warns Aquino against giving Puno another post-A A +A
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
MANILA -- A veteran senator advised President Benigno Aquino III to go slow from giving Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno another post in the government even if he is under fire due to the botched procurement of overpriced assault rifles.
The anomalous bidding prompted his boss, the late Secretary Jesse Robredo, to investigate and come up with a report that Puno apparently committed a conflict of interest when he went to Israel in May upon the invitation of one of the bidders.
A day after Robredo went missing following a plane crash in Masbate on August 18, Aquino ordered Puno to secure the documents inside the Secretary’s office as he made a failed attempt to go inside Robredo’s condominium unit.
“Assuming for the sake of argument that enough evidence is adduced during the hearing and he is found suspicious, sufficient for the Senate to recommend criminal investigation by the Ombudsman that would already hinder the plan to place him in another office,” Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said in an interview.
Puno, who is set to be replaced by Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome, will be transferred to the Department of Agriculture but Malacañang had already denied this.
“It might be interpreted as insensibility to the Filipino public because if a person is under investigation, although he enjoys the presumption of innocence, still, he should not be rewarded for prior office where he is surrounded by controversy and until these controversies are cleared up,” the senator said.
Santiago, chairperson of the Senate committee on revision of laws, called for an investigation on Puno’s performance as undersecretary for peace and order on Friday.
She also wanted to know if Puno was given full control of the PNP, bypassing the mandate of the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
“That would become very anomalous,” she said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)