By NITZ ARANCON
Gold Star Daily
It’s business as usual at the regional office of the Department of Interior and Local Government despite President Duterte’s decision to boot out Ismael Sueno as its secretary, DILG director for northern Mindanao Arnel Agabe said yesterday.
But Agabe said Duterte’s decision was something that he and other people in the DILG did not expect.
“Although we were caught by surprise about what happened to Secretary Sueno, as civil servants, [it is our obligation] to continuously render prompt and relevant public service,” said Agabe.
He said work in the DILG regional office has not been disrupted, and the program the Department started to implement in northern Mindanao would continue to be carried out as planned.
“It is business as usual as far as DILG-Region 10 is concerned,” Agabe said.
Duterte designated DILG Undersecretary Catalino Cuy as officer-in-charge of the department yesterday. Cuy would serve as acting DILG head until Duterte appoints a secretary.
The Palace said Sueno, a former South Cotabato governor and one of those behind Duterte’s successful presidential campaign, was sacked by the President late Monday due to “loss of trust and confidence” resulting from accusations of corruption made by his undersecretaries.
Sueno has denied the corruption and bribery allegations, claiming that he never used his position to enrich himself or pursue his personal interests in his many years of public service.
Sueno said three DILG undersecretaties–John Castriciones, Jesus Hinlo and Emily Padilla– were piqued due to their clipped powers under the new delegation of authority which he ordered last week.
He said the hotel in South Cotabato that was mentioned in a “confidential letter” belongs to his brother while trucks are owned by his daughter who is engaged in rice business.
Sueno said the farm that was reported in the letter belongs to him, and the improvements came with his flourishing duck business.
He said the accusations that grease money were collected from illegal gambling syndicates through one Senior Supt. Sintin were unfounded.
National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa assured that the “war on drugs” would not be hampered by Sueno’s dismissal.
Dela Rosa said the anti-drug campaign would continue even with a new DILG secretary.
He said Sueno’s removal only meant that Duterte is serious in eradicating corruption in government.