MALACAÑANG admitted Tuesday, January 8, that disclosing the names of three Cabinet officials who are currently being investigated by the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) without sufficient evidence might "unnecessarily" taint their reputation.
The commission is investigating Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Director General Isidro Lapeña, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Chairperson Leonor Quintayo.
In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the PACC should have first informed the three Cabinet members that they are under investigation before releasing their names to the public.
"Sa akin, you ask me as a lawyer, dapat bigyan mo ng pagkakataon din 'yung dinidemanda mo. Kasi in my office where we received complaints against a particular agency or a particular government official, ginagawa namin pinapadalo ko doon sa person concerned or agency concerned. Oh mayroon reklamo dito, please respond, kahit anong response mo," he said.
(For me, as a lawyer, the accused should be given a chance to be informed. Because in my office where we received complaints against a particular agency or a particular government official, we're making sure that the person concerned or agency concerned have been informed that they're facing a complaint and that we need response from them.)
"Hindi mo dapat ilalabas kaagad 'yun kasi otherwise you might be unnecessarily maligning a reputation na walang basis eventually. Kawawa rin naman (You should not release it immediately, because otherwise, you might be unnecessarily maligning the reputation of the accused without basis. That is unfortunate for them)," the Palace official added.
Bello, in a radio interview on Tuesday, cried foul over the reports quoting PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna about the supposed investigation.
Bello said he did not properly receive a copy of any complaint lodged against him and only learned of the investigation revealed by Luna through media reports.
Luna's move prompted the Labor chief to say that he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to oust Luna for alleged abuse of authority.
Panelo said Bello's call for Luna's ouster would be carefully considered by the President.
"Eh di tingnan natin (Let's see. Then that's the call of Secretary Bello. That will be his wish to the President. Sinong kakampihan? Si Presidente ang kinakampihan lang, 'yung nasa tama (As to who will the President take side with? The President will side with anyone who is on the right track)," he said. (SunStar Philippines)