MANILA, Philippines - Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Peace and Order Rico Puno offered yesterday to resign or be reassigned amid controversies to spare President Aquino from added burden.
“As I have said, I am willing to be reassigned or to resign from my post. Nahihiya ako kay Presidente,” said Puno, who has been with Mr. Aquino since he was still a congressman.
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz has accused two trusted men of the President of receiving payola from jueteng operations.
The retired prelate refused to name names but dared the government to investigate and put behind bars those involved in illegal gambling.
Puno, on the other hand, maintained that his conscience is clear and he never received anything from jueteng operations.
He said he and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo have been working to address the government’s problem on illegal gambling.
Puno added that there was no rift between him and Robredo, who has overall supervision on the department and its attached agencies.
“We have nothing to quarrel about. As DILG secretary (Robredo), he runs the department. We have already reported to him and the President,” said Puno.
He maintained that as DILG undersecretary for peace and order, he is tasked to monitor the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
The President confirmed he has given special instructions to Puno to supervise the day-to-day affairs of the PNP because he has full trust and confidence in him.
Mr. Aquino also admitted having differences in management style with Robredo, who has a good track record in local governance.
Cecile Suerte Felipe, Philippine Star