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President defends decision vs Sueno

President Duterte stood firm in his decision to fire Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno, saying he was not misinformed about the issues hurled against the former Cabinet official.

“I could never be misinformed. Ka-abogado ako, misinformed ako?” Duterte said in a press conference during a visit to a military camp in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

“When I make a move, when I fire you, diyan mismo, alam ko ang ginagawa ko,” said Duterte who earlier spoke to troops gathered at the Armed Forces Western Command in Camp Artemio Ricarte.

The President asserted that he would not hesitate to fire government officials even for just a “whiff of corruption.”

He said there are many honest and competent people who can readily replace these erring officials.

“Sabi ko, the first whiff, ang unang singaw lang maski hindi totoo, ba-bye tayo,” Duterte said. “Maraming kapalit sa gobyerno. Hindi tayo nagkulang ng talent, bright, pati iyong honest, with integrity,” he said.

Last Monday, the President dismissed Sueno on the spot during a Cabinet meeting following allegations of corruption.

Undersecretary Catalino Cuy has been designated as officer-in-charge of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Sueno maintained his innocence but claimed that the President could have been misinformed about the alleged irregular fire truck deal.

The President also fired a Malacanang undersecretary for pushing for rice importation permit despite its adverse impact on local farmers.

He was referring to Undersecretary Halmen Valdez of the Office of the Cabinet Secretary who supposedly tried to overturn a decision of National Food Authority chairperson Jason Aquino not to import rice since it was the local harvest period. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)