Editorial: Shape of things to come?-A A +A
Sunday, September 9, 2012
AFTER the glorious days of remembering how Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo personified good governance, we have a President who stands up for his friend Interior and Local Government Secretary Rico Puno saying he was the one who ordered Puno to go to Robredo’s office and condominium to secure important documents even as there was yet no confirmation on whether Robredo was dead or alive.
The country did get a hint of something when Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she was asked to secure vital documents from Robredo’s office and family condominium by Robredo’s wife Atty. Leni.
De Lima said she was been at Robredo's office on Augsut 20 and 21 to take custody of certain "sensitive and important" documents. Robredo’s plane crashed on August 18, the Saturday before.
Such an announcement in the wake of what was still a search and rescue operation was so out of tune, it sent some eyebrows a-raising. But the outpouring of sympathy for the secretary drowned out the possible controversy.
Now the report that indeed Puno was sent on such an errand, which de Lima had earlier admitted to having been sent on the same. Except that de Lima is not a subject of Robredo’s investigation, Puno was. There was also no mention nor admission of Puno going gung-ho to Robredo’s condominium to secure those documents until ABS-CBN news brought it out in the open; that Puno in fact went to Robredo’s condominium and office the morning after the crash, a Sunday. The crash happened just after 5 p.m. the day before. Apparently, the Undersecretary couldn’t wait for Sabbath to pass nor to confirm if Robredo was indeed dead.
What’s going on?
We can say the public deserves an honest explanation, but realizing that good governance had apparently died with the death of Robredo, we can only shiver at what will be the shape of things to come.
The icon is dead and on his wake is a controversy that is now holding the people in collective befuddlement.
Voicing the people’s sentiment is Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who challenged Puno to speak up on the issues hounding him.
"Be transparent. If you are innocent, answer the accusations against you. Bakit siya nananahimik? This is all puzzling to me," Santiago said, further questioning the power given to Puno as DILG undersecretary; powers that were denied of someone who was supposed to be his superior – the DILG Secretary.
"This case of Undersecretary Puno is completely unique, if not anomalous. I believe that Mr. Rico Puno was able to occupy this unique office of the Undersecretary with his unique or exceptional or anomalous powers because of severe pressure on Mr. Aquino," Santiago said.
A lot has been swept to the sidelines as nothing seemed amiss after the so-called “unique” arrangement was made at the DILG, the people shrugging it off as party matters. But after all these are breaking out in the open, there are questions that beg for answers and fast.
Sad to say, President Aquino already gave a hint on what he intends to do. Hush up everything and make it appear normal operations of a concerned agency.
Robredo must be turning in his grave had he not been cremated.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 10, 2012.