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Duterte fires DILG chief

President Duterte has fired Ismael Sueno as secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) over loss of trust and confidence, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

The President made the announcement at the end of the 14th Cabinet meeting Monday night.

Sueno’s dismissal serves as a warning to other members of the Cabinet that Duterte will not tolerate any “questionable or legally untenable decisions by any member of the Cabinet,” Abella said.

“The President is very serious in restoring trust in the government. One of the problems is that Filipinos lost trust in the government,” he added.

The Palace official recognized Sueno’s role in convincing Duterte to run for president but this does not give Sueno a free pass.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, in an interview over GMA-7, also confirmed Sueno’s dismissal.

“Terminated si Sueno because of some allegations,” he said.

Abella, in a press briefing in Malacañang yesterday, said Duterte has done due diligence in firing Sueno but urged the public to wait on the actions to be done.

He added that Duterte has checked the history of Sueno’s activities but declined to elaborate.

Abella said the letter sent by the three DILG undersecretaries to the President accusing Sueno of corruption has nothing to do with Duterte’s decision to sack Sueno.

Among the allegations raised against Sueno are his supposed abuse of power, questionable wealth, the alleged acquisition of a new hotel, his grandson’s alleged involvement in illegal gambling, and a supposedly anomalous fire truck deal with the Austrian government.

In a statement, Sueno said:

“We serve at the pleasure of the President. It is within his power, wisdom and discretion to appoint members of his Cabinet.” (ARGYLL GEDUCOS)