Palace willing to listen to sacked PDEA official-A A +A
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
MALACANANG said on Tuesday that it is willing to look into the allegations made by Carlos Gadapan against his former boss at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Gadapan, a former PDEA deputy director general, was ordered relieved from his post by Malacañang without citing any grounds other than "loss of confidence."
He accused his former boss, PDEA Director General Jose Gutierrez Jr., of tolerating his wife's gambling habit and for extorting money from a Chinese drug suspect arrested this year.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Palace is ready to listen if Gadapan will bring his allegations to the proper forum.
In a radio interview, Gadapan cried foul over his sudden relief, saying he did not do anything wrong as third top official in PDEA.
He accused his direct superior, Gutierrez, as the man behind his ouster.
Gadapan said Gutierrez restricted his authority in PDEA after telling him about his wife's gambling habit as she allegedly lost up to P800,000 in PDEA funds.
He added that Gutierrez stripped him of his powers and concocted negative stories about him, including the alleged P8-million extortion on an arrested Chinese drug lord this year, which the PDEA chief supposedly relayed to President Benigno Aquino III.
However, Gadapan turned the tables on Gutierrez, saying the PDEA chief was the one who extorted money from the suspected drug lord.
He said he has evidence to prove his claims and he is asking the President to give him chance to explain and clear his name. He added he was never informed about the reason of his ouster.
Valte said she will confirm if Gutierrez indeed sent a letter to President Aquino about Gadapan's alleged irregularities.
In an interview, Gutierrez denied that he had sought for Gadapan's removal from his post.
"I can't tell Malacañang to remove him because of that, right? All the speculation will be erased once the investigation is concluded," Gutierrez told reporters on the sidelines of the House plenary deliberations on the 2013 national budget.
Gutierrez also denied his wife's alleged gambling problem, saying his wife doesn't play in the casino and has "inadequate" knowledge of computers.
Valte said Gadapan should have talked to other officials higher than him, particularly Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, to explain his side.
"He can always go to other officials if that is the case. If it is needed, then he has other avenues that he can avail of. There are other fora that he can go to not just his direct superior," she said.
The relief order of Gadapan dated September 6 was signed by Executive Secretary Ochoa and released to reporters on Monday.
Valte said Ochoa did not explain to them the cause of Gadapan's ouster.
Nonetheless, she said Gadapan should accept his fate since he is a presidential appointee.
"As you know, all presidential appointees are aware of the fact that we all serve at the pleasure of the President and that you can be relieved at any point," she said.
Gutierrez, meanwhile, said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is expected to complete its investigation on all members of the PDEA this week.
In case his name is dragged into the controversy, the PDEA chief said he is willing to leave his post.
"We serve at the pleasure of the President. If he doesn't like me and my face, he can always say that he will relive me and I will not question," he told reporters.
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III called for an investigation on the relief of Gadapan.
"I rise to call the attention of the Senate and the proper committee to handle this and conduct an inquiry if possible to be able to get the bottom of this and if possible strengthen the PDEA,” he said in a privilege speech.
Sotto worked with Gadapan when he was chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board under the Arroyo administration.
"Probably this is the best time as any to look into the creation of PDEA, strengthen it out and weed out the undesirables, and makes it strong as we wanted to be to fight these problems of illegal and dangerous drugs in the country," the senator said. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)