SENATOR Antonio Trillanes IV claimed that the sacking of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael “Mike” Sueno is a “convenient excuse” by President Rodrigo Duterte to make the post available for someone close to him.
“I believe, meron silang gustong i-appoint dyan sa Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) ‘pagka natapos na ‘yung election ban (on appointing losing candidates who participated in the May 2016 election),” Trillanes, a fierce critic of Pres. Duterte, said.
“Kasi meron nang papasok ngayong May. So na-open nila ‘yung door. Nagbigay ng opening itong si Secretary Sueno. Kaya tinanggal sya,” Trillanes, a former officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, told reporters during in a media forum Tuesday.
“Tingnan n’yo nung nabalitaan ‘yung ganyan (corruption issue) kay Cesar Montano, tinanggal ba si Montano? So, ‘yung kay Sec. (Vitaliano) Aguirre, tinanggal ba? Hindi,” Trillanes stressed adding that “Ganun lang ‘yan. Political convenience ‘yan na gagamitin nila. Iinsist nila na may parang anti-corruption drive na nangyari.”
“What I’m saying is rampant ang corruption ngayon. We have been identifying senior officials of this administration na engaged in corruption, pero hindi naman ginagalaw. Pero eto komo convenient na tatanggalin (na nila),” he explained.
“Makikita nyo they are very careful na sabihin ‘loss of trust’ lang ang reason. Kasi nga naman, kung didiinan nila ng husto, baka mag salita ‘yan. Ngayon, kung meron naman talagang na-discover silang illegal, ba’t di nila kasuhan? Ba’t nila tinanggal lang?”
Nevertheless, Trillanes clarified that he does not know who will get the vacated post since it appears that there is still an infighting among Pres. Duterte’s allies.
“May mga names being floated around pero ano ‘yan, kumbaga meron pang infighting kung sino eventually makakakuha niyan,” said Trillanes.
On Monday, Pres. Duterte unceremoniously fired Sueno after a cabinet meeting citing loss of trust and confidence as reasons. Sueno’s dismissal came after his dispute with his three undersecretaries became known to the Pres. Duterte and the public
The three undersecretaries, who were all old friends of Pres. Duterte, accused Sueno of corruption and abuse of power, charges that the beleaguered former DILG chief firmly deny.
“I wholeheartedly accept the decision of the President. It is his call if he wants me in his Cabinet or not. But for the record, Mr. President, and I can say this with all honesty and sincerity, hindi po ako corrupt,” Sueno, a relatively newcomer in Duterte’s circle of allies, said.
It was earlier rumored that Pres. Duterte’s friend, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., has been promised the DILG post.
The young Marcos, son and namesake of the former strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., has a pending electoral protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), against Vice President Leni Robredo as he questioned her victory in the last vice presidential election.